On this forum, I have seen vividly that ‘Greater Germany’ is discussed a lot. However, what has not been covered is the literal ‘process’ and ‘how’ it is united. What is fully clear to me now that I have studied this topic to its full extent; is what would have been required to create all the different proposals. To understand all the proposals you only need to understand one particular proposal.

The ‘Greater Austria’ proposal reflects the gravitas of everything in relation to the Small and Large German Solutions. What I mean by that is thinking of all history related to this topic simultaneously and one understands through the differing proposals what it meant in history going forward.

Now whilst the term ‘Greater Germany’ has been mentioned and discussed a lot we have to set some boundaries. There are two dividing times in Germany of what the term ‘Greater Germany’ means. In the 1890s and thereafter, it’s a Jingoistic, expansionist, nationalistic, Pan-German association movement that eventually becomes extremist. In that, the Nazi’s just wanted to kill everyone and replace them with Germans. Pre 1890s is it something completely different and this is demonstrated in the Frankfurt Parliament in the Revolutions of 1848.

It is well known that the Austrians did not want to carve up their country in the Large German Solution and be in personal union with this other ‘state’ because it would have collapsed. Therefore the only other solution was uniting the Austrian Empire with the German Confederation and to accomplish this, required expanding the German Confederation borders to the Austrian Empire borders during 1848-49.

This scenario centres around one Prince Felix Zu Schwarzenberg and his Schwarzenberg plan or what was termed the “Seventy-million Reich”. I quote the following passage:

“Conservative Austria had been strengthened again since the counterrevolution in Vienna (October 1848). However, it lasted until the summer of 1849, when it had crushed the uprisings in Hungary. Austria was not yet fully capable of acting when in the spring of 1849 the small German movement slowly gained a majority in the National Assembly. It would have been especially important for Austria to present an attractive counter-plan in order to win over public opinion in Germany.

At the Kremsierer Reichstag, on 27 November 1848, Schwarzenberg's Austrian Prime Minister Schwarzenberg had flatly rejected the Frankfurt decisions of 27 October. Austria should not be torn apart, instead of the "mutual relations" between the "rejuvenated" Germany and the "rejuvenated Austria" still had to be determined. He became more specific in early March 1849 with an offer for the German question. At the same time, Austria was given an imposed constitution, which emphasized its state unity.

According to this plan, the regions of Austria and Prussia that did not yet belong to the German Confederation should join. Thus, the entire empire Austria would have been under the protection of the Federation and would have led a Central European bloc, which strengthened Austria's role as a great power. The renewed alliance would have had a directorate (executive) with three Austrian and three Prussian as well as a Bavarian member. In a state house, delegates of the parliaments of the individual states should be represented. With a population of around seventy million, Greater Austria would have become by far the most densely populated country in Europe. In 1850 Europe had only about 195 million inhabitants, of whom 39 million lived in Russia, 29.3 million in France and 16.6 million in England.

Schwarzenberg had thus reluctantly countered the zeitgeist, for he actually rejected a German representative body, even in the weak form of parliamentary delegates. The main goal was the nationality of northern Italy and Hungary, to consolidate Austria's power there domestic and foreign policy. This made the plan by nature unattractive for the Germans outside of Austria, who did not want to be involved in Austrian nationality conflicts.”

(Zeitgeist definition: the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.)

According to Manfred Luchterhand, Austria considered buying Austria's accession to the league by allowing it to progress towards integration, as the states in small Germany demanded. A board of directors as an executive would have been more effective than the old, larger Bundestag. Schwarzenberg's version of the double confederation also admitted that the "purely German" states were allowed to merge into a closer confederation of states. But the more important constitutional framework should be the further confederation of states with Austria. The Gagernsche double flange, thus a "contrast bipolar Union, which consisted solely of a Prussian-run, the German Reich 'and Austria was not acceptable."

The Problem:

“Schwarzenberg had thus reluctantly countered the zeitgeist, for he actually rejected a German representative body, even in the weak form of parliamentary delegates. The main goal was the nationality of northern Italy and Hungary, to consolidate Austria's power there domestic and foreign policy. This made the plan by nature unattractive for the Germans outside of Austria, who did not want to be involved in Austrian nationality conflicts.”

Understanding the Problem:

Schwarzenberg’s Plan was rejected because the Austrians were attempting to reconquer and reintegrate the San Marco and Hungarian Republic in 1848 and 1849, this signified to the German populace that they did not want to be a part of a multi-ethnic state which had domestic and foreign policy issues. The San Marco republic only surrendered to the Austrians on the 27 August 1849. The Hungarian state was only proclaimed on the 14th April 1849 and its creation could have been completely avoided.

The revolutions of 1848 were a crunch crisis to a systemic issue, very similar to the French Revolution, of the European sovereign states inability to recognise fundamental human rights of human beings. Reformers of the Hungarian Republic addressed these issues in the Twelve Points. These included:
  • Freedom of the Press (The abolition of censure and the censor's offices)
  • Accountable ministries in Buda and Pest (All ministries and the government must be elected by the parliament)
  • An annual parliamentary session in Pest.
  • Civil and religious equality before the law. (The abolition of separate laws for the common people and nobility, the abolition of the legal privileges of nobility, the abolition of (Catholic) state religion)
  • National Guard. (A forming of their own Hungarian national guard)
  • Joint share of tax burdens. (abolition of the tax exemption of the aristocracy)
  • The abolition of socage. (abolition of Feudalism and abolition of the serfdom of peasantry)
  • Juries and representation on an equal basis.
  • National Bank.
  • The army to swear to support the constitution, our soldiers should not be sent to abroad, and foreign soldiers should leave our country.
  • The freeing of political prisoners.
  • Union. (With Transylvania)
Addressing the Problem:

Austria’s inability to change; is written in the March constitution and using military force to quash the revolution and imposing martial law. The March constitution created a neo-absolutism state and attempted to abolish the Diet of Hungry (created in 12th century) and nullify the Hungarian historical constitution.

Schwarzenberg held great power in Austria’s future direction and he can be credited with restoring Austria’s Great power status from the near complete collapse of the Austrian Empire. However, it is the direction that he put it on which lead to its eventual demise. Schwarzenberg just restored pre-1848 Austrian revolution state, whereas he could have created a superpower by uniting what would be the Austrian and German Empires together under eventual single federation.

The first answer to revolutions of 1848 was to change the figurehead of the state. It cannot be overstated, Metternich had fled to London and his Imperial Majesty was mentally incapacitated. Felix had pinnacle and defining power in an absolutist state that rarely gives power to politicians. Schwarzenberg would have known Franz Joseph was reactionary and Maximillian was Liberal. Persuading Ferdinand to abdicate and outmanoeuvring Franz Joseph for Maximillian to take the throne is the easy bit.

What’s funny (laughable and sad) is as the revolutionaries of 1848 were marching on the imperial palace; Ferdinand I of Austria is supposed to have asked Metternich for an explanation. When Metternich answered that they were making a revolution, Ferdinand is supposed to have said: "But are they allowed to do that?"

The difficulty of this circumstance is that it required a quick and immediate reaction. Schwarzenberg was installed as Prime minister on the 21 November 1848 but only came up with a specific plan regarding the revolutions in March 1849. He should have drawn up plans and reacted to the revolutions simultaneously. Schwarzenberg executive decision making: Achieve the overall goal which should override personal political beliefs. I.e. install Maximillian to appeal to the populace, the Frankfurt parliament and Greater Germans over Austrian conservatism and reactionary beliefs which caused the crisis to begin with under Metternich.

The next steps are:
  • Appease to all populace in the state to sweeping reforms (apply ‘Twelve Points’ across Austria)
  • Federalizing the Austrian Empire should have been a no brainer to address ethnic and nationalistic tensions within the state (however not surprised if it does not happen)
  • Quash the Italian rebellion as quickly as possible (but do not impose martial law)
  • After the Schwarzenberg plan failed Karl Ludwig von Bruck put a plan forward for a trade union between the Austrian Empire and the German Confederation but most people thought that this was a step backwards in comparison to Schwarzenberg’s plan. Schwarzenberg should have simply put this in his original plan in March. (Maximillian recommends it.)
  • Use Maximillian to address the nation and appease the revolutionaries (“the coming of a new dawn is upon us!”)
Outcome:

All of this must be accomplished before March 1849 when he proposed his plan and whilst he is addressing the domestic issues of the state he is incorporating many of the core values which the Frankfurt Parliament would ultimately represent. This would outmanoeuvre Prussia’s ability to counter offer any solution of uniting Germany because they would also have to reform as a consequence of Austria’s reformation.

Comparisons between creating the Small German Solution and Greater Austria:

The three defining territories to annex in order to create the Small German Solution were Duchy of Schleswig, Duchy of Holstein and Alsace-Lorraine. It then required a war with Austria for Prussia to admit Hegemony over the Southern German States I.e. Bavaria, Wattenberg and Baden.

Therefore Austria would have to annex or admit Hegemony over the Duchy of Schleswig, Duchy of Holstein but not Alsace-Lorraine because France is a great power. France is too powerful, requiring war to annex the territory. Austria would also need to win a war against Prussia to influence all the states in the north of Germany. Creating Greater Austria also requires the Prussian state to collapse for Austria to admit hegemony, Austria has to do this; otherwise, you’ll have a rump German state if Austria were to go ahead uniting Greater Austria without Prussia. Alternatively and more interestingly the Austrians could slice Prussia up making it a secondary power. For example, reinstate the Kingdom of Saxony with their pre-1806 borders, annex the Province of Silesia back into the Crown of Bohemia and make a new kingdom out the Provinces of Rhine and Westphalia.

Timing:

What is important to note is that the actual result from the Frankfurt Parliament gave Prussia the node to create the Small German Solution, putting Austria’s back up against the wall. Austria could have still created Greater Austria post-1850 but Schwarzenberg’s accomplishment of restoring the old regime did not allow reformation of the state. Thus by not reforming the state caused the Austrians to lose the Austrian-Prussian war in 1866. If the Austrians won, another solution would have been viable.

In respect to creating Greater Austria as a main foreign policy issue rather than being half-hearted about it. If Schwarzenberg puts down his proposal in March 1849 and the Frankfurt Parliament accept, the Austrians now dominate the German Confederation through the size of their population. (See Graph below)

Prussia cannot now create the small German solution because the confederation lines say otherwise and this puts Prussia’s plans in disarray. Austria now sets the pace in which a federation can be created. If Schwarzenberg really wants to take the initiative he should participate in the First Schleswig War (1848-1852) which Austria did not do. In winning, the next target is Prussia and then France.

The Second problem:

Even if Austria somehow won the populace opinion to form a Greater Austria it would have to tackle the Middle German States. “Neither Prussia nor Austria could prevail with their plans because the middle-states such as Bavaria and Hanover were afraid of a federal state without Austria, in which Prussia would have been the supremacy, but also fear of a Greater Austria as a pure confederation in which Austria had dominated. Thus, in the summer of 1851, the old German Confederation was restored.”

For Austria to outmanoeuvre the Southern German states, this requires the annexation of the Hohenzollern Province. Austria can then dominate the three southern states without Prussian influence. Austria can then create the South German Confederation which will be a direct puppet state of Austria.

As for Hanover, it’s completely isolated at this point. Threatening invasion and annexation by Prussia in return for its very sovereign existence will force it to back down, this allows Austria to invade France. If the Austrians reach Paris with the German confederation support, Maximillian can proclaim ‘Greater Austria’ at the Hall of Mirrors.

Schwarzenberg accomplishing this is similar to Polk achieving the manifest destiny but that was a lot simpler because he was just annexing Mexican wasteland, or Abraham Lincoln winning the civil war, if Lee wins Gettysburg, Lincoln simply losses the war because Lee will besiege Washington to force a piece. However, the most common comparison is Bismarck creating the Small German Solution. Schwarzenberg would have to defeat Bismarck in order to create Greater Austria which is simply monumental, to then go and unify 1 / 10th of Europe’s landmass and one-third of its population is madness. Therefore Schwarzenberg creating Greater Austria would be one the most politically and diplomatic pioneering feats of all time, simply greater than Polk achieving the manifest destiny, Lincoln winning the civil war and Bismarck creating lesser Germany.

Post-unification:

Schwarzenberg died of a stroke in 1853 but which all account was probably caused by the stress, anxiety it took on his mental and physical body by the revolution. If he lives he’ll become the most powerful person on the planet and encounter some of the most intriguing incidents of our time including:

• The annexation of Alsace-Lorraine - will he create a different border with the French
• The Scrabble for Africa
• Nationalism in the Ottoman and Russian empires and how this affects non-Germans in Austria
• Socialism and Social policy
• Economy
• Germanisation

Greater Austria: (excluding Alsace-Lorraine and Schleswig)

Großösterreich_1849-51.png


Population distribution of Greater Austria:

Großösterreich_1849.png


Large German Solution: (Along the red lines but also including Grand Duchy of Posen, East and West Prussia)

pic1.png


Population distribution of the Large German Solution:

Staaten_im_Deutschen_Bund_1848_Einwohner.svg.png


Small German Solution:

pic2.png
 
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All very, very interesting.

How do the Germans feel about becoming part of a multi-ethnic Habsburg state, as opposed to creating a specifically German union? Will Austria have to let the Hungarians and everyone else loose (or Habsburg-run satellites anyway).

On pruning Prussia - Silesia to Austria, bigger Saxony and hand Westphalia to Hanover as decent allies of Vienna that can act post-enlargement as a northern, Protestant counterbalance to Berlin.
 
All very, very interesting.

How do the Germans feel about becoming part of a multi-ethnic Habsburg state, as opposed to creating a specifically German union? Will Austria have to let the Hungarians and everyone else loose (or Habsburg-run satellites anyway).

On pruning Prussia - Silesia to Austria, bigger Saxony and hand Westphalia to Hanover as decent allies of Vienna that can act post-enlargement as a northern, Protestant counterbalance to Berlin.

The whole point of Greater Austria was for the Austrians to take their none German lands with them in a German-dominated state. But yes nationalism will attempt to spilt up this superstate.

Nationalistic hotbeds are:
- Hungarians
- Italians
- Romanians
- Ukrainians
- Polish
- Croats, Serbians

Post-unification Schwarzenberg’s policy on nationalism is critical. He cannot give independence to any none Germans because what was the point of creating Greater Austria.

Therefore the obvious conclusion is to continue Germanisation, which Austria continued after 1849.

The best idea I think is too aim for creating what Napoleon said. A Europe without borders but not in the literal sense as Napoleon saw it, dominating Europe would alone either squeeze everyone out or gravitate everyone around you. So aim for the multi-ethnic state rather than a state dominated by Germans through Germanisation. If this happens your heading toward Wilhelm II and Franz Joseph. However, I think seeking to incorporate the Kingdoms of Poland and Romania within the empire is a start and move towards Yugoslavia, Finland, Lithuania and the Baltic states. The difficult states to incorporate would be Ukraine (because it’s so big in itself) and Bulgaria. (no Bulgarians apart of Austria however they don’t have independence because of the Ottomans.)

At this point, this multi-ethnic state is turning into a mega European superstate/trading bloc rather than just a German state, 100 years before the creation of the European Union.

I agree with you about bribing Hanover with Westphalia for it to submit into the federation.
 
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Schwarzenberg’s plans for political and/or economic integration of Central Europe were a direct assault on the great power status of Prussia and so the Prussians resisted....successfully.

I’m intrigued by the notion that Austria tried to buy its way in. Seems more like they tried to bully their way.

What if they offered something of actual value to Prussia? What then could be achieved?

What about the concept of federations within confederations within commonwealths:

Prussian Union-all Germany except as listed below

Confederation—Prussian Union plus Austria, Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Wurttemberg and Baden

Commonwealth—Confederation plus the non Confederation areas of Prussia and Austria
 
Schwarzenberg’s plans for political and/or economic integration of Central Europe were a direct assault on the great power status of Prussia and so the Prussians resisted....successfully.

I’m intrigued by the notion that Austria tried to buy its way in. Seems more like they tried to bully their way.

What if they offered something of actual value to Prussia? What then could be achieved?

What about the concept of federations within confederations within commonwealths:

Prussian Union-all Germany except as listed below

Confederation—Prussian Union plus Austria, Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Wurttemberg and Baden

Commonwealth—Confederation plus the non Confederation areas of Prussia and Austria

Austria's attempt at buying there way in was feeble at best, it was simply never going to happen. This is what Bismarck eventually realised and why he created the Small German Solution: Greater Austria, the small and large German solutions were never going to be achieved with civil politics, foreign policy and diplomacy. He realised there are too many angles and dimensions to the German question, therefore, he had to make it happen by his own actions so to speak. He created the type of 'German Empire' he envisioned but no one else envisioned. He did not negotiate and compromise on the type of Germany that was going to be created. That is why the German empire was created in the 19th Century.

If the Austrians win the Austro-Prussian war anything could happen including what you have proposed. However, what I have written about is Schwarzenberg taking a serious stance on creating Greater Austria, as Bismarck took a serious stance on creating the Small German Solution. I say this because Schwarzenberg was considered as the 'Austrian Bismarck', he was intelligent, charismatic but was less trusted as Bismarck because he had only just taken office.
 
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Being at the helm of the most compromised and least dynamic of the powers, Schwarzenberg has a hard way to go to make his dreams a reality.

Can he eke out a military victory in 1850? Since he didn’t go for it, I suspect he thought not.

How about an alliance with France? He’d have to put something on the table. French Rhineland? Bonapartist Naples?
 
Being at the helm of the most compromised and least dynamic of the powers, Schwarzenberg has a hard way to go to make his dreams a reality.

Can he eke out a military victory in 1850? Since he didn’t go for it, I suspect he thought not.

How about an alliance with France? He’d have to put something on the table. French Rhineland? Bonapartist Naples?

Of course, Schwarzenberg has a long way to go. Factoring in everything, Austria's economy, military, infrastructure and administration was in a dire situation in 1849, which the 14 points should address but not solve. Schwarzenberg has to design economic, military, infrastructure and administrative reform. This will easily take 10 years. (I am not surprised if I have forgotten something.) The broad idea is that this should give Austria the muscle to have a very bloody and long war with Prussia. Remember Prussia only had too strategically and tactically win, Austria has got to force the Prussian state to completely collapse and then occupy it until a peace. So you could see a war around 1860-65.

Going to war with Prussia in 1850 is risky because the Prussians have a better army. No point rushing it either because war with France would be next. Best reform first to have the capability to conduct these wars and then conduct them in quick succession as Bismarck did. (1864, 1866 and 1871)

Napoleon III always wanted an alliance with Austria as an end product of his Mexican experiment, it's up to Schwarzenberg if he wants to use France to his advantage of invading Prussia. There again if Schwarzenberg wants to act like a real statesman, he could propose Franz Joseph become Mexican emperor, and if the regime falls as it did, send 20,000 Musketeers and make it an Austrian experiment. But if the Mexicans want Maximillian because of his 'reform' they can have him, he'll be the only Doppelkaiser (double emperor) after Francis II.

Bonapartist Naples: Italian nationalism is a sticking point because all of Italy would not be able to become apart of the federation and putting a Bonapartist on the Naples throne would cause further Italian nationalism.

French Rhineland: Austria would not be able to form Greater Austria.
 
Going to war with Prussia in 1850 is risky because the Prussians have a better army.

I wouldn't be so sure about it. One reason Prussia backed down from the idea of the Erfurter Union in the face of the Olmützer Dictate was that the Prussian military was in a sorry state.
It was this being forced to back down, which led to the military reforms which enabled the victorys of 1864, 1866 ond 1871.

On the other hand Austrias military isn't mutch better at the time.
There was a reason why Austria needed russian help in defeating the hungarian revolt.
 
Neither of them are military juggernauts at the time but prussian strength is sufficient enough that even token support from other powers would be enpugh to see the austrians back down
 
Neither of them are military juggernauts at the time but prussian strength is sufficient enough that even token support from other powers would be enpugh to see the austrians back down
Austria is actually quite the military juggernaut in the 1840s and could probably eat Prussia for breakfast... provided there is no Hungarian revolution.
 
I wouldn't be so sure about it. One reason Prussia backed down from the idea of the Erfurter Union in the face of the Olmützer Dictate was that the Prussian military was in a sorry state.
It was this being forced to back down, which led to the military reforms which enabled the victorys of 1864, 1866 ond 1871.

On the other hand Austrias military isn't mutch better at the time.
There was a reason why Austria needed russian help in defeating the hungarian revolt.

Neither of them are military juggernauts at the time but prussian strength is sufficient enough that even token support from other powers would be enpugh to see the austrians back down

Austria is actually quite the military juggernaut in the 1840s and could probably eat Prussia for breakfast... provided there is no Hungarian revolution.

Therefore the question is how fast can Austria reform and feel confident of attacking Prussia.
 
They really don't. Radetzky vs [lost to Denmark] would be a sequel to Jena.

It should be said, that Denmark had pretty good army at the time, Jutland was easy to defend and pre-railroad mobility favored Denmark as the Danish fleet ensured fast transport. There was a reason even the 1864 war after the Prussian military reforms took nine month.
 
It should be said, that Denmark had pretty good army at the time, Jutland was easy to defend and pre-railroad mobility favored Denmark as the Danish fleet ensured fast transport. There was a reason even the 1864 war after the Prussian military reforms took nine month.
The Danes were indeed no slouch, there's good reason why they were a Great Power for centuries and a middle powr for centuries after that, but putting the force they bested against Radetzky is still one hell of a mismatch.
 
Suppose that in the disorders of 1848-1849, Austria loses control of Hungary and northern Italy?

Then unification of Germany by or with Austria doesn't have the big ethnic problems. There are still Bohemia, Galicia, and Slovenia in the Austrian realm; Prussia has Posen and Pomerelia, and also Lusatia (where the Sorbs live).
 
I have a hard time seeing german nationalists exapting this plan, keep in mind it was this nationalists that allowed Bismarck to push thoe the unification dispute most other German rulers being agenst it. And most nationalist felt adding all of austrea into the new German empire would gust make it a large austrea not a perly German one.
 
I have a hard time seeing german nationalists exapting this plan, keep in mind it was this nationalists that allowed Bismarck to push thoe the unification dispute most other German rulers being agenst it. And most nationalist felt adding all of austrea into the new German empire would gust make it a large austrea not a perly German one.

You are correct on all accounts on none reformed Austria. However, that is where Maximillian and the '12 points' play a critical part. The crunch question for the Frankfurt Parliament in March 1849 is:
  • Is there an overall consensus/majority for a German state which would have a liberal monarch and liberal state but includes none-german areas over a censored and reactionary Prussian state.
If the parliamentary delegates believe that these none german areas will eventually gain independence in 50 years then they will have fallen into the trap of extending the confederation borders. However more importantly the risk of saying no is too high. The opportunity to have a liberal monarch and liberal state will not come across again unless Prussia has some 'magical moment'.

In reality, the Frankfurt Parliament failed to achieve its goals, here it could achieve them by not just nodding to Austria to create unified state but also a state where fundamental human rights to human beings are actually preserved, which seems unlikely in a Prussian unified state.
 
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The Crimean War would be a great opportunity to annex the South German states by force while everyone’s distracted,and while Radetzky and other competent generals are still alive.OTL,most of the South German states were next to useless ,and the Northern states were mostly Prussian aligned anyway. Austria should also give Russia its’ blessings to annex the Bosporus Straits ,otherwise Britain might see Austria as the greater threat.
 
On the other hand Austrias military isn't mutch better at the time.
There was a reason why Austria needed russian help in defeating the hungarian revolt.
Fighting a civil war while simultaneous waging a major campaign in Italy is supposed to be easy?

Honestly, does the Hungarian Revolution really prove anything other than that Austrian officers* are a match for other Austrian officers? Or that if given the option to end a war a year early,** at no cost, heads of state will gladly take it?

*some very talented ones at that, the biggest problem for the Austrian army of the period was probably its inability to keep its talent young officers loyal and committed.

**Haynau at least believed the war could be won without Russia, and given that the war in Italy was winding down (meaning a lot of manpower was about to be freed up) he was probably right.
 
Fighting a civil war while simultaneous waging a major campaign in Italy is supposed to be easy?

Honestly, does the Hungarian Revolution really prove anything other than that Austrian officers* are a match for other Austrian officers? Or that if given the option to end a war a year early,** at no cost, heads of state will gladly take it?

*some very talented ones at that, the biggest problem for the Austrian army of the period was probably its inability to keep its talent young officers loyal and committed.

**Haynau at least believed the war could be won without Russia, and given that the war in Italy was winding down (meaning a lot of manpower was about to be freed up) he was probably right.
I think then premise is that the Hungarian revolution does not happen as they are brought to to the table with the 12 points instead of sending a Croatian army to Budapest.
 
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