American settlers in Texas are going to keep agitating and starting trouble to try and get an American government intervention. There might not be a Mexican-American War, or it might end differently, but I’d put better odds than not that war does break out and that it’s a major American victory.
 

Gian

Banned
You guys have to remember though, the the Oregon issue has been settled much earlier and its ambitions for a port in the Pacific have been largely satiated (for now). If anything, Henry Clay might be more popular than ever for his handling on the issue, which might get him reelected and the expansionist out of the White House until 1852 at the very least.

By that time ofc, Mexico's hold over California would be stronger than ever (especially after the Gold Rush would spur immigration to the area), making it more difficult for the Americans to expand there.
 
You guys have to remember though, the the Oregon issue has been settled much earlier and its ambitions for a port in the Pacific have been largely satiated (for now). If anything, Henry Clay might be more popular than ever for his handling on the issue, which might get him reelected and the expansionist out of the White House until 1852 at the very least.

By that time ofc, Mexico's hold over California would be stronger than ever (especially after the Gold Rush would spur immigration to the area), making it more difficult for the Americans to expand there.

If the Texans start a war and the gold has already been discovered (which by the way would prompt a flood of American immigration to California as well), then America will push to annex California even more than IOTL.
 
You guys have to remember though, the the Oregon issue has been settled much earlier and its ambitions for a port in the Pacific have been largely satiated (for now). If anything, Henry Clay might be more popular than ever for his handling on the issue, which might get him reelected and the expansionist out of the White House until 1852 at the very least.

By that time ofc, Mexico's hold over California would be stronger than ever (especially after the Gold Rush would spur immigration to the area), making it more difficult for the Americans to expand there.
assuming there is a gold rush and manifest destiny especially for rich land like California(even without gold is amazing real esate) which i see turning into a similar texas situation in ten years. manifest destiny seriously we will be itching for that and I could easily see war erupting over native Americans fleeing into mexico, settlers, anything!
 
Maybe with a more peaceful government we could see an alternate peace, with more land staying with Mexico? I don’t know how plausible it is, but some kind of concession like OTL Southern California staying with Mexico might be possible.
 
Maybe with a more peaceful government we could see an alternate peace, with more land staying with Mexico? I don’t know how plausible it is, but some kind of concession like OTL Southern California staying with Mexico might be possible.
I think it really depends on who comes after henrey clay
 
American settlers in California will certainly push for annexation, and events such as the capture of Monterrey in 1842, which did not help diplomatic relations. While Mexico could crush any revolts by any American settlers by force, such an event would be a useful pretext for war. Also the opinion of the Californios must be considered. Some of the californios even supported American annexation, most notable Don Vallejo who served as military governor of Alta California from 1835-1842 and supported American immigration and annexation. While this attitude was not wholly indicative of the Californios, they were willing to fight against the central Mexican government to preserve their power. A fact which a shrewd America could be able to take advantage of especially in the event of the Gold Rush.
 
I definitely think that it is possible for the Greeks to take northern Epirus and Macedonia. Perhaps the Greeks can encourage the Orthodox Albanians to emigrate to Greece. Looking forward to what comes next
 
So looking at the situation, I think the greeks have a real opportunity, but I don't see them moving toward it right now. The greek nationalist party is right now focusing on the low hanging fruit of areas that are already majority greek in the balkans and Anatolia, and while that makes sense there's a problem. The extent of actual greek majorities are simply too small to make a state in the balkans that has the strength to hold land in Anatolia. In order to do so I think they need to own at least modern Greece, eastern Thrace, northern Epirus, most of Macedonia, and some strategic chunks of Bulgaria, along with Cyprus. From such a power base, I think they would have the demographic and economic might to permanently hold off the turks from the aegean and and the coast of Marmara. Without this however they would get pushed out like IOTL 1920s, and only perhaps hold some small vulnerable chunks in Anatolia, instead of a proper core area.

How could Greece achieve this success? Well they would have to look forward in a way they aren't doing now. As far as I can understand from the many discussions on the topic on this thread, Greece can't convince core Bulgarians and Serbians that they were actually greek all along. Thus they can never hold large minorities of these people as they would fight to rejoin their homeland. However, correct me if I'm wrong, the population of Thrace, Macedonia, and small parts of southern Bulgaria were pretty culturally fluid. In these areas, I think that if Greece outspent the turks and Bulgarians they would be able to convince at least 40% of the population that they are greek, and most of the rest that can align to Greece.

Once Greece does that, and gains those areas, they can then push out the border for strategic reasons to borders or mountain ranges. The hard part would be with dealing with firmly Bulgarian areas. In those cases I think population transfers would be necessary, or Greece would be forced to deal with some rather unnatural and porous borders. Unfortunately looking at the history of the balkans, it seems like that they would do this in a less than ethical way. I really hope they can find a better way to go about it, as it's nice to see a moral Greece, like in the last update.

The point I am trying to make however, is that while firm ethnic resistance would preclude any possibility of Greece expanding to core Bulgarian or Serbian areas, they can still do a lot better than they did IOTL, by absorbing some peripheral areas. I think this would probably a large, but reasonable extension of the greek borders, I think that they will get something similar to this.

imageedit_4_8919394563.gif
 
A much more recent concern, namely a notable current in Italian politics making noises over the former Venetian colonial empire being rightful Italian territory. Which meant Corfu and the Ionian islands, already part of Greece and Crete among others.

Really? Huh, I'd never heard of this before. I know the nutters wanted Dalmatia (which, frankly, was ridiculous enough as it is), but the Ionian Islands and other parts of Greece, before Mussolini? Interesting.

As for this;

Now get the claims to Corfu and Crete out of the way one way or another... the liberal Italy that seems to be forming TTL may well be on much friendlier terms with Greece than the OTL one.

Since Italy and Greece are on opposite shores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, geo-political rivalry was inevitable in OTL, since both countries were ruled by very conservative politicians hell-bent on irredentism; but a more democratic and wealthy Greece and a more democratic and wealthy Italy could very well be able to sort out their differences and become staunch allies - to the chagrin of Great Britain and Russia, due to both countries' interests in the Balkans and in the Ottoman lands.

even though Greece is more democratic there still is the problem of the nationalist party which would have problems with that and it is not guarantee at all that Italy will be a democratic state ultimately though they are natural geopolitical rivals and have different geopolictal difference in the end so an alliance make it extremely unlikely at best we can see cordial relations

Worth noting, if Italy ends up unified under a Confederation instead of a unitary state ruled by the despotic House of Savoy and their radical mongrels, the equally-idiotic Bourbons will also remain in power over the Two Sicilies. Now that in itself isn't much, but couldn't they somehow be used to make inroads against the northerners, at least?


That's a lot of non-Greeks you want to take in, frankly. Also, those might be peripheral areas, but those borders aren't anywhere near geographically defensible. Before I begin, here's some topographic maps for context; Albania, FYROM, Bulgaria, Rhodopes, East Thrace (feel free to ignore the coloured lines and the Cyrillic script - though it is worth noting, the purple line denotes the 1912 Bulgarian-Ottoman border, from before the Balkan Wars).

In Albania, you've managed to avoid all the mountain ranges in the east in favour of cutting through vast plains and stumpy mountains on the western parts instead, while also cutting very deeply into core Muslim Albanian lands which would take a significant amount of effort to Christianise/Hellenise. If the Arvanites in Attika/Peloponnesos are anything to go by, even if they become bilingual within a generation or two, they'll never fully lose their "other" identity, even if they suppress it - which seems unlikely, with those numbers, and given their geographical location, they'll probably end up demanding autonomy and cultural rights, which will become a problem with the Albanian nationalists later on.

In FYROM, after Monastir/Bitola and the Gevgelija-Dojran plain up to the Gradeska Mountains, one could advance as far as the Crna Reka and the Vardar rivers (though frankly the Selecka Mountains aren't the best frontier), but anything beyond that and you've begun to cut deep into historic Bulgarian territory; Thessaloniki was never a Bulgarian city, but Ohrid was, and they still remember that. A border around Bitola-Prilep that then stops at the Vardar might be plausible with a significant push, but Greece would still end up with a lot of """friendly""" Slavs and the frontier wouldn't be particularly defensible, upon which you'd have a very embittered Bulgaria. Greece IOTL had to expel a lot of Bulgarophile Slavs as it is and this would only aggravate that situation, resulting in even stronger irredentist feelings.

On the West Thracian front, things are both easier and more complicated, as here the Muslims were very dominant (just as they continue to be in southern Bulgaria today). Regardless of them, however, there's two geographical defensible boundaries you can go for here; the Rhodope Mountains, or the Arda River. You can find the Arda River on the maps I linked, and the Rhodope mountains border here as it's the one the locals used when they declared the Provisional Government of Western Thrace, but either way you're still going to have the problem of the area being one massive multi-ethnic, multi-lingual Muslim community that wants to be allied to the Turks, not to the Christians, Greek or otherwise, and the more of them there are, the more trouble they're going to be. In that regard, partitioning West Thrace was honestly a boon for both sides, especially as they were exempted from the population transfers undertaken in OTL.

As for East Thrace; the OTL borders are basically the only defensible frontiers there are there, unless you seize everything east/south of the Pirin-Rila-Thracian mountains (as those effectively serve to sever Thrace from the rest of the continent), or you go down half-way through Turkish Thrace to the Maritsa's branches (see map). As such, the only thing that could really change here is the size of Adrianople's buffer (as that's completely artificial), and the river used to mark the Black Sea border; as you can see on the map there's two of them and Bulgaria got the better deal IOTL, as the Turks agreed to demarcate it across the southern one - in fact, if I recall, the Bulgarians traded Adrianople's buffer for that river. Also, as East Thrace hosted a significant Hellenic population, other than the geographical issues, ethnographically the area would be very secure.

But yes, in short; there's room to improve Greece's borders, definitely, but not by too much, not with this POD.
 
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I am a little concerned by the amount of Jingoistic land grabs being proposed in this thread: Be careful not to appear to support Ethnic cleansing. The Balkans were enough of a mess OTL.

While I won't necessarily be disappointed if a Megali Greece develops, like all timelines (and as has happened very interestingly so far) this one should develop naturally, and to what ever seems probable to the author.
 
Really? Huh, I'd never heard of this before. I know the nutters wanted Dalmatia (which, frankly, was ridiculous enough as it is), but the Ionian Islands and other parts of Greece, before Mussolini? Interesting.

For the funny story of the day, the Italian troops that got stationed in Corfu during WW1 where going around with scarfs that were showing the post-war greater Italy, Corfu included of course, while their commander a general Marro? (translating back from Greek here) was claiming his troops would leave only when the wooden rooster his men had erected in the Corfu New Fortress would start crowing. The Corfiotes took note and when the Italian troops did leave in 1919 after a bit of diplomatic strong-arming on behalf of Greece by the French and British several thousand showed up to wave the Italians off... all crowing like roosters of course. A repeat performance would be given 4 years later for Benny's troops leaving in turn.
 
In Albania, you've managed to avoid all the mountain ranges in the east in favour of cutting through vast plains and stumpy mountains on the western parts instead, while also cutting very deeply into core Muslim Albanian lands which would take a significant amount of effort to Christianise/Hellenise. If the Arvanites in Attika/Peloponnesos are anything to go by, even if they become bilingual within a generation or two, they'll never fully lose their "other" identity, even if they suppress it - which seems unlikely, with those numbers, and given their geographical location, they'll probably end up demanding autonomy and cultural rights, which will become a problem with the Albanian nationalists later on.

If the Arvanites are anything to go by... they'd be providing anything from multiple prime ministers to generals and admirals. That said the border proposed in 1919 seems far more reasonable... and incidentally minimizes the number of Muslims that end in the Greek side of the border.

In FYROM, after Monastir/Bitola and the Gevgelija-Dojran plain up to the Gradeska Mountains, one could advance as far as the Crna Reka and the Vardar rivers (though frankly the Selecka Mountains aren't the best frontier), but anything beyond that and you've begun to cut deep into historic Bulgarian territory; Thessaloniki was never a Bulgarian city, but Ohrid was, and they still remember that. A border around Bitola-Prilep that then stops at the Vardar might be plausible with a significant push, but Greece would still end up with a lot of """friendly""" Slavs and the frontier wouldn't be particularly defensible, upon which you'd have a very embittered Bulgaria. Greece IOTL had to expel a lot of Bulgarophile Slavs as it is and this would only aggravate that situation, resulting in even stronger irredentist feelings.

Too much. I can see Monastir ending up Greek as pretty likely, it nearly did in OTL and had a large Greek Vlach population which is why Greece wanted it in the first place, but that is going to be a triangle from lake Prespa north to either mount Kale or Semnica river and from there due south-east to meet mount Kaimaktsalan. Similarly further east the ideal end-game from the Greek point of view is to add Gevgeli-Doriran and Stromnitsa/Strumica both for nationalistic reasons and to decrease the vulnerability to Thessaloniki. Which means going from mount Zlatenbreg north-east to Gradesca to the Strumica and then due east along the river. Anything beyond that is excessive.

As for East Thrace; the OTL borders are basically the only defensible frontiers there are there, unless you seize everything east/south of the Pirin-Rila-Thracian mountains (as those effectively serve to sever Thrace from the rest of the continent), or you go down half-way through Turkish Thrace to the Maritsa's branches (see map). As such, the only thing that could really change here is the size of Adrianople's buffer (as that's completely artificial), and the river used to mark the Black Sea border; as you can see on the map there's two of them and Bulgaria got the better deal IOTL, as the Turks agreed to demarcate it across the southern one - in fact, if I recall, the Bulgarians traded Adrianople's buffer for that river. Also, as East Thrace hosted a significant Hellenic population, other than the geographical issues, ethnographically the area would be very secure.

But yes, in short; there's room to improve Greece's borders, definitely, but not by too much, not with this POD.

There is an obvious border to the east... namely the Bosporus and the sea of Marmara (which of course means the European side of Constantinople becoming Greek and Asian side Turkish). Beyond that though there have been historically three more border lines demarcated as part of treaties after 1912. First the Ainos-Medea line of the treaty of London in 1912. No strong geographic features there but still it did happen. Second the line agreed between Bulgaria and the Ottomans in 1915 which interestingly enough instead of following the Evros/Maritsa river was running parallel to it some 10-15 km to the east. Last the Sevres line at Catalca. That's actually pretty defensible and short enough to be easily fortified.
 
I'm sorry for asking but can I have a map of the European side of Constantinople. I've seen other maps, but I want to be absolutely sure. Also, is Hagia Sophia on the European side?
 
I'm sorry for asking but can I have a map of the European side of Constantinople. I've seen other maps, but I want to be absolutely sure. Also, is Hagia Sophia on the European side?
The Hagia Sophia is on the European side of the straits in what was the formerly Byzantine part of the city. Also, here's a map of Constantinople in 1840.
780px-1840_map_of_Constantinople.jpg

And here is a picture of the Bosporus straight in 1897 for reference.
880px-Karte_der_Umgegend_von_Constantinopel_bearbeitet_und_gezeichnet_von_C._Frh._v._d._Goltz_%28Pascha%29.jpg
 
If the Arvanites are anything to go by... they'd be providing anything from multiple prime ministers to generals and admirals. That said the border proposed in 1919 seems far more reasonable... and incidentally minimizes the number of Muslims that end in the Greek side of the border.

In theory, though I would be remiss not to point out the Arvanite's geographical vicinity to the nation's capital and their inclusion in Greece since the very beginning, making it a lot easier for them to contribute and to be assimilated, which likely contributed quite a bit to their success, arguably. Although, the Souliotes also made some significant contributions to the Revolution, whereas the Epirote Albanian Muslims were trouble the entire time..... Hm.

Regardless, I once read a paper indicating there were long-standing ethno-religious conflicts between the Muslim and Orthodox communities in Epirus even before the Second World War broke out, so I suspect that if the amount of Muslims and the territory absorbed were greater, this would only serve to aggravate these tensions even further, especially with the annexation being more recent and Greece's hold over the area no doubt being very tenuous, at best.

So all-in-all, yeah, I definitely agree the 1919 border is likely the most reasonable one, especially if it leads to more calm amongst the Epirus ethno-religious groups. In fact, if I recall, didn't Greece largely ignore Epirus IOTL in favour of investing most of its soft power into Macedonia?

Too much. I can see Monastir ending up Greek as pretty likely, it nearly did in OTL and had a large Greek Vlach population which is why Greece wanted it in the first place, but that is going to be a triangle from lake Prespa north to either mount Kale or Semnica river and from there due south-east to meet mount Kaimaktsalan. Similarly further east the ideal end-game from the Greek point of view is to add Gevgeli-Doriran and Stromnitsa/Strumica both for nationalistic reasons and to decrease the vulnerability to Thessaloniki. Which means going from mount Zlatenbreg north-east to Gradesca to the Strumica and then due east along the river. Anything beyond that is excessive.

Agreed on Semnica River-Mount Kajmakcalan in the west. As for the east; Strumica is one possibility and IMO stopping just above Dojran Lake is another, assuming a border stemming from Mount Zlatenberg, and then up to the Vardar River (OTL municipalities (map) of Dojran (45), Bogdanci (46) and Gevgelija (47), without Valandovo (44)).

There is an obvious border to the east... namely the Bosporus and the sea of Marmara (which of course means the European side of Constantinople becoming Greek and Asian side Turkish). Beyond that though there have been historically three more border lines demarcated as part of treaties after 1912. First the Ainos-Medea line of the treaty of London in 1912. No strong geographic features there but still it did happen. Second the line agreed between Bulgaria and the Ottomans in 1915 which interestingly enough instead of following the Evros/Maritsa river was running parallel to it some 10-15 km to the east. Last the Sevres line at Catalca. That's actually pretty defensible and short enough to be easily fortified.

Agreed, though I assumed the inclusion of the Bosphorus and Constantinople was obvious, frankly :p Though you are right, it is worth mentioning the Sevres Line at Catalca, indeed.


I'm sorry for asking but can I have a map of the European side of Constantinople. I've seen other maps, but I want to be absolutely sure. Also, is Hagia Sophia on the European side?

For future reference, just think of Constantinople as the Fatih District of Istanbul, as it is demarcated almost completely around the old city walls of Constantinople as they stood in 1453 with the exception of Galata, which lies across the water just to the north of it.
 
Part 69: Wails and Woes
Part 69: Wails and Woes
625px-Rok_1863_Polonia.JPG

Polonia in Mourning

The miraculous defeat of the Imperial Russian Army at Warsaw in the Summer of 1848 provided the Polish National Government with much needed time and breathing space to organize itself and prepare for the prolonged fight to come. Soon after the battle, the Polish Government began extending its control over the provinces of Congress Poland, it expelled Russian agents from the country, it conscripted able bodied men for the army, it promoted investment and development in wartime industries, and it opened diplomatic relations with anyone willing and able to lend them aid against their adversaries. As mentioned before, the Second French Republic would be Poland’s most significant supporter, providing them with financial and material support starting in the Fall of 1848. And though France was certainly the largest and most prominent supporter of Poland, they wouldn’t be the only state actively aiding the Poles.

Like the French, the Hungarians shared a particularly close relationship with the Poles and provided them with whatever they could spare to help them in their cause, with some Hungarians even crossing the Carpathians to fight alongside the Poles. The Poles would also receive some limited assistance from the Baltic Peoples of Russia, most notably the Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians who would tentatively join the rebellion against Russia and would form several volunteer regiments to assist the Polish Army over the course of the war. Warsaw’s efforts to gain the support of the Ruthenians and Belarussians would meet with much less success however, as their deeply ingrained animosity towards their Polish neighbors had not diminished after 50 some years of Russian rule. Still, a few Ruthenians - mostly the Catholic Ruthenians from Galicia-Lodomeria - would join with the Poles in their quest for independence.

Coupled with their Baltic and Hungarian allies and a steady stream of fresh conscripts and volunteers from the provinces, the Polish Army would quickly grow from a little over 57,000 men in May 1848 to nearly 139,000 by August and roughly 200,000 by December. While many of these men were inexperienced in the art of war, they were organized around the remnants of the old Congress Poland Army, whose veteran soldiers and experienced officers lent the new army a degree of potency it otherwise lacked. The Polish Army was also in short supply of rifles, muskets, and cannons leading many men to arm themselves with war scythes, polearms, and lances. Attempts to rectify these shortfalls in munitions and training would have to wait however, as two Russian Armies would invade Poland in mid-September.

In the South, Russian Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich and the main Russian Army, some 124,000 strong, advanced from the city of Brest towards Siedlce using the same route Count Diebitsch had used the year prior. When the Russians reached the city on the 17th of Septmeber they were immediately confronted by Polish General Ignacy Prądzyński and the entrenched 1st Polish Army, numbering around 86,000 men. Despite the disparity in manpower, Prądzyński would successfully fight Paskevich to a standstill at Siedlce thanks in part to the poor morale and poor condition of the Russian troops, many of whom were recently conscripted serfs and peasants with little training of their own. Many Russian soldiers also lacked sufficient ammunition to fire their weapons, forcing many to utilize their old muskets as clubs and bludgeons.

After exchanging several volleys, the Russians had expended the entirety of their gunpowder, forcing Paskevich to order an advance on the Polish lines; seeking to win the day with élan and a glorious bayonet charge. The Poles having rationed their powder and shot better than their Russian adversaries unloaded the remainder of their own supply on the advancing Russians, killing scores and maiming many more, still this did not stop the Russian advance and seconds later the two sides would clash. The melee that followed was hard for both sides as the uncaring, aristocratic Russian commanders utilized their numerical superiority to great effect as they threw wave after wave of men at the entrenched Polish positions to egregious effect. Soldier after soldier flung themselves into the bloody mire, only to be cut down in brutal fashion. By the end of the day, the Russians were no closer to taking the city just as the Poles were no closer to driving them out of Poland. Ultimately the only result of the 2nd Battle of Siedlce was the loss of many a good man with over 9,200 Russian and 5,700 Polish soldiers laying dead or dying by nightfall. Over the following days, the Polish and Russian forces would clash a few more times near Zbuczyn, Wiśniew, and Grabianów before the bitter cold and heavy snow forced them both into winter quarters.

680px-Kossak_Olszynka_Grochowska.jpg

Skirmish near Siedlce

The fighting in the North would be just as active however as Russian General von Berg advanced forth from Vilna in late September and laid siege to the Lithuanian city of Kaunas on the 25th. Kaunas had been one of the few Lithuanian cities to openly join the Polish revolt, along with the cities of Trakai and Lida. Determined to punish the Lithuanians for their impudence, Tsar Nicholas had dispatched von Berg and 94,000 men to lay low the rebellious Lithuanians before marching into Poland. Now finding themselves under siege by the vengeful Russians, the Lithuanian National Government called upon the Poles to aid them and in response the Polish National Government would dispatch General Maciej Rybiński and the Polish 2nd Army to relieve the siege of Kaunas and save their Lithuanian allies. Here again, the Poles would be outnumbered by a sizeable margin, but thanks to the surprisingly effective leadership of a Polish noblewoman by the name of Emilia Plater-Domeyko, the Poles and Lithuanians would defeat General von Berg in a series of battles along the banks of the Namen River, ultimately forcing him to abandon the siege of Kaunas altogether.

Known to many as the Polish Valkyrie or the Mother of Poland, Emilia Plater-Domeyko would be a shining star to her people in the Great Polish Uprising. Emilia Plater-Domeyko had been a prominent supporter of Polish nationalism since her childhood, discretely donating to various causes promoting the independence of Poland during her youth and directly joining several others like the Filaret Association as a young adult. She was also friend of Adam Mickiewicz, the Great Bard of Poland through her husband, the talented geologist and philosopher Ignacy Domeyko with whom she had three children Hipolit, Michal, and Izabela. Her first real claim to fame however, would come during the botched Warsaw Rising in September 1830 when she and several of her compatriots raised a company of volunteers and marched to aid their countrymen in Warsaw only to discover to their horror that the city had already been pacified by the Russians. Plater would then be captured by the Russian authorities, but in a surprising act of mercy she was released due to her status as a woman of noble birth. The Russians would later regret this decision when the Great Polish Uprising began in April 1848, as Emilia Plater - now Emilia Plater-Domeyko - immediately moved to join the cause of Polish Independence once again.

However, the sudden onset of poor health would leave her bedridden for some time, prompting her husband and eldest son to take to the field of battle in her stead, while she recovered and tended to their two younger children. Once she recovered in late June, she would travel to Warsaw where she aided in the defense of the city as a nurse and a seamstress during the month-long siege. However, her life would change completely when first her eldest son and then her husband fell to Russian arms in rapid succession during Diebitsch’s attack on the 19th of July. Driven mad with grief and a desire for revenge against the Russians, Plater cut her long hair, tore off her nurses' frock and adorned the uniform of a simple soldier before charging into the raging firefight happening all around her. Many Polish accounts of the Battle of Warsaw would go on to credit Plater’s great passion with galvanizing the flagging Polish resistance when the battle was most dire. Her skill as a marksman was also particularly noteworthy during the battle as various sources claim she had slain three Russian soldiers with one well aimed shot, while another, mor fanciful claim argues that she was the Polish sniper who had shot and killed Russian Field Marshal Hans Karl von Diebitsch in revenge for the death of her husband and son.

Whether this last account is true or not, her bravery and her steadfast devotion to Poland especially in the wake of a great personal loss would earn her the recognition of General Dezydery Chłapowski and General Ignacy Prądzyński who, after some debate, commissioned her as a pułkownik (a Colonel) in the Polish Army. Using her own family fortune to purchase weapons and uniforms, Colonel Plater would raise a regiment of troops before embarking on a lightning campaign across Russian occupied Lithuania over the Summer of 1848. She would incite revolts against the Russian occupation, raid Russian supply lines, and gathering intelligence on Russian movements in the region, all of which greatly benefited the Polish cause. Her greatest achievement would be a midnight raid on the city of Vilnius where her regiment, would infiltrate the city with the aid of the city’s inhabitants and set fire to the Russian army barracks in the city before escaping back into the countryside undetected. Emilia Plater would prove to be a surprisingly adept military leader in the mold of her childhood idols the Maiden of Orleans Jean de Arc, the Heroine of Trembowlna Anna Dorota Chrzanowska, and the Greek Admiral Laskarina Bouboulina, leading her regiment to victory after victory against the Russians.[1] Her efforts during the Summer of 1848 are credited with disrupting Russian General von Berg's siege of Kaunas, enabling the city's defenders to hold out until help from Warsaw could arrive to break the siege. Sadly, her efforts would not be enough.

680px-Micha%C5%82_Elwiro_Andriolli_-_Walka_powsta%C5%84cza.jpg

Emilia Plater-Domeyko Leads her Soldiers into Battle near Kaunas

Despite the willingness of the Baltic peoples to actively support the Poles with men and arms, they would prove hesitant to fully commit to joining the Polish cause, as outside of the aforementioned cities of Kaunas, Trakai, and Lida, only a handful of Lithuanian and Latvian towns would openly rebel against Russia, making the war against Russia a thoroughly Polish one. Poland's efforts to extend the war into the Ukraine also met with little success as well, with a Polish Army led by General Józef Bem only managing to advance to Lutsk before being forced to retreat in the face of growing local opposition. To the West, the Prussian Poles of Posen would succeed in capturing the cities of Wreschen and Bromberg in early 1849, reducing Prussian influence to a handful of isolated fortresses scattered across the Grand Duchy, but they would fail to make much progress in Warmia or Silesia. While these setbacks were certainly problematic for Warsaw, the true failure of the Great Polish Uprising was not its failure on the battlefield, but rather its failure on the diplomatic front.

Many prominent figures in British high society publicly supported Polish Independence as a means of humbling Russia and many more donated vast sums of money to the Polish revolutionaries, but very few actually supported military intervention against Russia, Prussia, and Austria to win the Poles their freedom. By the Summer of 1848, Britain was already engaged in two other wars, the Belgian War and the First Anglo-Persian War. In addition to these two conflicts, they were struggling to contain a growing revolt in Ireland, the Ionian Islands were in a constant state of unrest, the Austrian Empire was on the verge of collapse, and the Americas were poised for a crisis. Even if they could, with British forces presently engaged in Persia, Afghanistan, Belgium, and Ireland it would have been an incredibly foolish venture destined for great tragedy and heartache. The best deal that the Polish dignitaries in London could pull from the British Government at this time was a promise to apply diplomatic and financial pressure on the Austrians, Prussians, and Russians to make peace with the Poles.

France was in a similar state. Although the Second French Republic was Poland's closest ally, having sent them vast quantities of weapons, munitions, medical supplies, and money, France was also involved in a rather difficult war against Prussia and the Netherlands in the Low Countries. This war against Prussia was certainly to Poland's benefit, but it also exhausted France's desire to directly assist the Poles in their fight with Austria and Russia, especially when their present war against Prussia was proving much harder than initially expected. Added to this was the dreadful financial straits France found itself in at the start of 1849 and it is no wonder that they would choose to take a similar approach as Britain, opting instead for diplomacy and financial sanctions. Sadly, this would have little effect.

Once it became clear that the British and French would not intervene militarily to aid the Poles, the Russians unilaterally rejected any attempts by the Western Powers to mediate an end to the Great Polish Uprising. Russia would accept an unconditional surrender by the Poles and only an unconditional surrender. There would be no mercy, no amnesty, and no forgiveness for the traitors and secessionists who humiliated the Russian Emperor and the Russian State. While Prussia was friendlier with Britain than Russia, they were strongly opposed to any French overtures concerning the Poles, leading Berlin to reject these missives as well. This left Austria, who would initially accept British and French calls for peace with Poland given their own ongoing struggles in Italy and Hungary. However, Vienna would soon find themselves under pressure from the Prussians and Russians who ultimately convinced the Austrians to retract their support for British and French mediation.

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Dignitaries Meet to Discuss the Conflict in Poland

The failure to gain sufficient foreign intervention on their behalf would be an incredibly demoralizing development for the Polish National Government which had staked its future on the promise of foreign aid. Still, it was their hope that the continued escalation of the war would ultimately force the states of Western Europe to intervene on their behalf, whether they wanted to or not, but to do that they would need to hold out for as long as possible, a prospect that seemed implausible, but not impossible at the time. It was not to be however, as the war would suddenly and completely turn against them in 1849 as further Prussian and Russian reinforcements began pouring into the region.

Infuriated by the continued resistance of the Poles into 1849, Emperor Nicholas would press Field Marshal Paskevich and General von Berg to restart their offensives as soon as they were able, before ordering a third army into the region in early April. Led by talented General Mikhail Dmitrievich Gorchakov, this Russian army, estimated to be around 89,000 men strong, assembled near Rivne and soon marched on the neighboring city of Lutsk. Lutsk had nominally joined the Polish Uprising late in the Fall, but when faced with a massive Russian Army on their doorstep, the Ruthenians of the city revolted, surprising the Polish garrison in the city, before surrendering the town to the Russians without so much as a fight. The quick fall of Lutsk would be followed up one week later by the loss of Kovel and Chelm to the Russians, setting off alarm bells in Warsaw. In response, the Polish Government would raise a third force of their own to counter Gorchakov’s advance and appointed General Józef Bem to lead the campaign against von Berg. This hastily assembled band of raw recruits and reservists would put up a stiff, but ultimately futile fight near Lublin on the 4th of April, before they were ultimately forced to retreat.

Bem would continue to defy the Russians even after this defeat, scorching the earth in his wake and harassing Gorchakov’s army as it attempted to besiege Lublin for the next few weeks. To the North, General von Berg’s army advanced on Kaunas once more, forcing Polish General Rybiński into a disadvantageous confrontation. Over the next three weeks, Rybiński’s force would fight Gorchakov’s in a series of skirmishes and minor battles known as the 2nd Kaunas Campaign, before culminating in the battle of Garliava. Despite the valor of his men, Rybiński was outflanked and outmaneuvered by the more numerous Russian army, forcing him to retreat. The ensuing panic in the city of Kaunas would only worsen matters as terrified Polish and Lithuanian civilians clogged the roads to the west and south, hampering Rybiński’s escape route and resulting in further losses for the Polish Army. Incidentally, the Polish would inflict even worse casualties on the advancing Russians as Emilia Plater’s kosynierzy (scythemen) regiment elected to protect the fleeing refugees for as long as they were able.[2] Although they would ultimately be bloodied and brutalized, the Scythemen would inflict an impressive death toll on their Russian adversaries at a rate of 3 to 1 before finally being overrun by the Russian juggernaut and forced to retreat. The high losses incurred in the battle of Garliava would compel General von Berg to temporarily halt his offensive while he awaited reinforcements and resupply, but after a fortnight his Army would be on the march southwards once again.

General Prądzyński would attempt to move in support of General Rybiński as he retreated towards Suwalki and then Łomża, but he was soon countered by Field Marshal Paskevich who advanced on Siedlce once again, forcing Prądzyński to remain in place. Back in the South, General Bem would briefly break General Gorchakov’s siege of Lublin on the 31st of March, but once he regrouped three days later, Gorchakov would return in force, and utterly devastate Bem’s army. With his army in tatters, Bem was forced to abandon Lublin to its fate and flee to the westward. With Bem gone, the Russians quickly stormed into Lublin and subjected its inhabitants to a malicious display of human cruelty. Those that resisted were shot on sight, while the officers, politicians, and intellectuals still remaining in the city were deported to Siberia, women were raped, children were abused, homes were vandalized, stores were looted, and monuments were smashed to pieces. The fires set by a few rowdy Russian soldiers would soon grow to consume the entire city, reducing it to ash in a matter of hours, completing the desolation of Lublin. Once the Russians had finally exhausted themselves on the poor people of Lublin, they deposited a sizeable garrison in the ruined city and marched onward to the Vistula leaving a hollowed out city in their wake. Within a matter of days, Gorchakov’s Army had reached the River and summarily defeated Bem once more, driving him southwards to Galicia. With the road now clear, Gorchakov's army forded the Vistula and began advancing north towards the city of Warsaw at a blistering pace.

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Russian Soldiers push into Lublin

Now threatened from the South, Polish General Prądzyński was forced to withdraw to Warsaw where he began preparations for another siege of the city. Despite being outnumbered now 3 to 1, the Poles of Warsaw would attempt to hold out in the city as long as they could, hoping for Rybiński’s army to come marching south to save them or for Bem to have assembled a new force capable of rescuing them, but to no avail. General Rybiński was himself besieged at Pultusk by von Berg and despite numerous attempts to break out of the siege, he would ultimately fail and resolve himself to his fate. Meanwhile General Bem was far to the South in Galicia trying desperately to muster a new force with which to relieve Warsaw. Remarkably, he would raise yet another force and immediately moved to aid Warsaw in June, but by this time Bem would be too late.

Lasting a little under two months, the Second Siege of Warsaw would be just as intense and bitter as the first, only this time, the Poles were now cut off from both the West and the East. The East bank of the Vistula fell under Russian occupation rather quickly, thanks to the sizeable extent of Field Marshal Paskevich’s Army. With the gallows now in place, General Gorchakov slowly tightened the noose around the necks of the Polish National Government and General Prądzyński’s Army as his soldiers advanced on the city from the West. Try as he might, Prądzyński was unable to break the siege, and despite frequent missives to Rybiński and Bem calling for aid, there would be no aid in sight. Steadily, redoubt after redoubt, bastion after bastion, and castle after castle fell to the unstoppable Russian juggernaut. With his body and mind weakened after months of constant warfare and recognizing the hopeless of the situation, Prądzyński fell into a terrible despair and in his deep despair he would shoot himself in the head, killing him instantly.[3] Prądzyński’s death would be the final nail in the coffin for the Poles of Warsaw, they had lost their captain, their chief defender, and their great hero. Without him there was no hope and even the bravest and most stalwart of fighters recognized the end was at hand and surrendered to the Russians.

Unlike the massacre that took place at Lublin in early April, the Russian behavior at Warsaw was much more restrained. The reasoning for this is twofold, firstly, the Poles of Warsaw had surrendered before they had been overrun whereas the Poles of Lublin had resisted to the very end. Secondly, the British and the French had vehemently condemned the Russian treatment of the Poles at Lublin, with London even threatening armed intervention if such appalling behavior continued. While this was likely a baseless threat, it could not be completely ignored by St. Petersburg. A third suggestion for the more peaceful surrender in Warsaw goes to Russian Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich. Paskevich had been appointed Namiestnik of Poland following his predecessors’ untimely demise a year prior and likely did not wish to govern a pile of corpses and burnt out rubble, compelling him to rein in his troops as best he could, sparing Warsaw the same fate that had befallen Lublin.

Still, capital punishments were carried out for officers of the old Congress Army for betraying their oaths to the King of Poland (Nicholas I), while officers of the newer Polish Army and members of the Sejm were exiled from Poland, with most being forcibly deported to Siberia. The Szlachta (the Polish Nobility) was also ruined financially as many of their estates were confiscated and their serfs were freed in a surprisingly progressive, yet entirely vindictive act on the part of the Russians. The Catholic Church in Poland was reined in considerably, with many churches coming under the surveillance of the Russian Government and numerous monasteries and abbeys being closed. Poles would be forbidden from holding government posts in Congress Poland and they would be barred from the higher ranks of the Russian Army's officer's corps. Beyond that, the civilian population of Warsaw was generally ignored, so long as they surrendered peacefully, which most did.

With Warsaw fallen, Rybiński immediately recognized the futility of his own struggle and asked his Russian counterpart for terms, surrendering his own force two weeks later. Rybiński's surrender would not sit well with Emilia Plater-Domeyko and many of her men who still desired to fight. On the night before Rybiński officially surrendered Pultusk to the Russians, Plater and her compatriots would escape the city under the cover of darkness and continue the fight from the Polish countryside. Although the fighting in Congress Poland would continue for another few weeks, the fall of Warsaw brought about the end of any significant opposition in the region and by the end of Summer 1849, Congress Poland would be at peace. The fighting in Prussia would also come to an end around this time as well.

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Polish Revolutionaries being Exiled to Siberia

Despite achieving a number of victories against the Prussians; the Poles of Posen, Prussian Silesia, and West Prussia would soon be faced with a tide of Prussian reinforcements from the West. Over the Winter, the War in Schleswig-Holstein had come to a decisive end in favor of the Danish crown, and while Prussia had refrained from directly joining the conflict, it had occupied the attention of II Armeekorps for several months. With the Schleswig War now over, II Armeekorps was now free to aid I, V, and VI Armeekorps in the suppression of the Polish Uprising. While their arrival would be helpful, it would not be pivotal as the fighting remained close throughout much of January and February. These soldiers would just be the first reinforcements to arrive in theater however, as in mid-March, another 10,000 men from the Prussia Gardekorps’ 1st Division arrived in Posen, followed two weeks later by the Gardekorps 2nd Division and all of III Armeekorps boosting the number of Prussian soldiers in theater from 57,000 at the end of December to 113,000 by the start of April. The arrival of these soldiers would tip the balance almost entirely in favor of the Prussians as the Polish Army of Posen was now outnumbered over 2 to 1 and outmatched in terms of quality of fighting men. Most importantly, their arrival signaled the end of the Belgian War and the aid from France.

Under the articles of the 1849 Treaty of London, France was compelled to end its financial and material support of the Polish rebels. Despite the best efforts of the Liberals within the French Government and Napoleon Franz’s own personal support for the Poles, there was little the French Government could do. Paris was in an almost constant state of unrest, the French economy was in tatters, the French Army was on the verge of mutiny, and several Departments were in open revolt against him. Napoleon Franz's own base of support in France was also surprisingly fragile given his quick assumption of power in late 1848 as a third of the National Assembly was openly hostile towards him, while another third was completely ambivalent. The French people may have supported the Poles, but they were not willing to go to war for them, at least not after such a disastrous war in the Low Countries. That is not to say that Napoleon Franz and his diplomats completely abandoned the Poles as the French would succeed in winning some concessions from the Prussians for all their efforts.

Prussia, under pressure from Britain and France would agree to administer an armistice over the Grand Duchy of Posen lasting from the signing of the Treaty of London (the First of February) until the First of April. Provided the Poles presently in rebellion against the Prussian crown surrendered peacefully before the of the armistice they would be granted amnesty for their crimes against the Prussian crown and their property would be guaranteed. However, if they continued to resist after the armistice, then they would be treated as traitors and brigands subject to all the punishments these charges entail. The Poles to a man, refused the Prussian demands and so, the First of April would come and go with little to show for it beyond an angered Prussia and a stalwart Posen. With the die cast, the Prussians unleashed their full might on the hapless Poles of Posen.

The grizzled men of the Prussian Gardekorps and III Corps flooded into Posen and Silesia where they enacted a campaign of terror and retribution upon the rebellious Poles. To their merit, the Poles of Posen would resist even this great onslaught, but even they could not fight against the full might of the Prussia Army for long. Soon, city after city began to fall to the vengeful Prussian soldiers who unleashed hell upon those communities that resisted. Women were raped, men were beaten to death, children were thrown out into the streets, and the ringleaders of the revolt were executed en masse. Those who surrendered before the arrival of the Prussians were spared the worst of these abuses, but theirs would be a fate that was only slightly better than those who fought back. By the end of May, only the fortress city of Posen remained standing against Prussia and soon this too would fall in early June. The three Polands had been reduced to one, with only poor, impoverished and famished Galicia remaining.

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Prussian Soldiers ransack a Polish Home

The continued survival of the Polish State in Galicia was less a testament to the strength of Galicia, but rather an indictment of the weakness of Austria as the Galicians had been largely ignored by the Imperial Government. Unbridled by the Austrians, the Galicians would join with Congress Poland and Posen to form a restored Poland for a few short months before Congress Poland and Posen fell to the Prussians and Russians in the Summer of 1849. Sadly there was very little Galicia could do to aid their countrymen as the only benefits the Galicians could provide Poland were its manpower and foodstuffs. However, compared to the behemoth that was the Russian Army, at nearly 930,000 regular soldiers, 340,00 irregular Cossacks and militiamen, and over 200,000 reservists, the 326,000 strong Polish Army (counting the total contributions of Congress Poland, Posen, Galicia, and their allies) looked absolutely minuscule in comparison.[4] Nevertheless, Galicia would continue on well past its wealthier and more populous counterparts, thanks in large part to the ineptitude of the Austrians, however, the Austrians would soon devise a new scheme to retake Galicia.

The end of the Polish Uprisings in Congress Poland and Posen would present Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph with a new opportunity to salvage his crumbling Empire. Reaching out to his allies, Tsar Nicholas of Russia and King Frederick William of Prussia, Franz Joseph would beg their assistance in the restoration of order to his unruly lands. King Frederick William and the Prussian Government would regrettably decline, owing to their own exhaustion and the continued unrest in their own lands, but Tsar Nicholas needed little persuasion and immediately accepted the young Emperor’s request. As a stalwart conservative, and a committed imperialist, Nicholas opposed liberalism and nationalism with every fiber of his being. Emperor Nicholas also had a much more strategic rationale for intervening in Austria. The continued independence of the Galician Poles presented a serious problem to the sanctity and stability of the Russian Empire as it provided a refuge for traitorous Poles and a symbol of Polish resistance to foreign occupation. Already tens of thousands of Polish refugees had flooded into lawless Galicia and from there, many Polish partisans like Emilia Plater-Domeyko and Józef Bem found safe harbor to launch raids across the border into Congress Poland. Nicholas could not allow it to survive any longer and within a week of receiving Emperor Franz Joseph’s request, he would dispatch General Gorchakov to invade Galicia and crush any resistance he found there.

Over a month later, in mid-August, General Gorchakov’s 96,000 strong army arrived outside Lwów ready to begin the pacification of Galicia-Lodomeria, but to his surprise, he would find Polish General Bem and an army some 62,000 strong ready to oppose him. Despite being outnumbered by over 30,000 men, Bem’s Galician troops were highly motivated to defend their homeland from the vile Russians, having heard of the atrocities committed against their countrymen in Posen and Lublin. These Poles would fight the Russians with everything they had and fight they would for the ensuing Battle of Lwów would be one of the worst battles of the entire Uprising. Witnessing the deaths of nearly 17,000 men over the course of three days of hard fighting, the Poles fought tooth and nail for every city block, every inch of ground and every blade of grass in and around Lwów. The Poles generally fared better than the Russians, suffering only 11,200 casualties compared to the 24,800 casualties the Russians endured but, General Gorchakov and the Russians would not be denied from taking the city and by the 20th of August, Lwów had fallen.

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Charge of the Russian Hussars at Lwów

From Lwów, the Russian offensive into Galicia would continue westward towards the city of Krakow. Thanks to Bem’s talent as an engineer and his intricate knowledge of the Galician countryside - having spent much of his youth and young adult life in Krakow and Lwów - the Poles of Galicia would desperately fend off the Russians for much of 1849. To aid their cause and to bleed the Russians white, they implemented a brutal scorched earth campaign, stripping the countryside of its already limited bounty. Anything of value to the Russians was hidden or destroyed, fields were burned, livestock was butchered or spirited away to the mountains, wells were poisoned, and villages were abandoned. The Polish Army frequently harried their Russian adversary, inflicting a quick blow against them, before escaping into the Galician wilderness once more. The Russians did themselves no favors, as their overly aggressive tactics and outdated medical practices drained the Russian Army of manpower at a ghastly rate. Still, it was a losing battle for the Poles as more and more Russians soldiers poured into the region and by the end of November, the last free city in Galicia would fall to the Russians.

With Galicia formally subjugated, the Russians turned their attention to Hungary as they had been asked to aid the Austrian Government in its moment of need. The Hungarians had also aided the Poles in their failed struggle making their subjugation a personal matter for the Russian Empire. However, with Winter now upon them, the snow-covered mountain passes through the Carpathians became nigh impossible to traverse. Unable to cross into Hungary, General Gorchakov would elect to remain in Galicia for the Winter where he would nominally restore Austrian oversight of the region, although in truth the country was effectively under Russian occupation. The occupation of Galicia would not end the fighting however, as guerilla warfare would continue in earnest throughout the winter.

Roaming bands of freedom fighters would continue to strike out against Russian patrols or raid Russian supply depots in the region over the winter. They would murder various Russian officers including Gorchakov’s aide de camp in an attempted assassination attempt on the Russian commander. Gorchakov in response unleashed his Cossacks to terrorize the countryside, an act which only hardened the resolve of the Galicians against him and when Spring came in 1850, the situation in Galicia was no better than it had been the previous Fall. Unwilling to advance through the Carpathian Mountains with his supply lines in such a perilous state, Gorchakov would be forced to remain in the region for the entire Spring and much of the Summer while he chased bandits and partisans throughout the Galician countryside. After months of reprisals and terror campaigns, the Galicians would be forced into submission, finally ending the Great Polish Uprising after nearly two and a half years of fighting. With Galicia now at peace, Gorchakov, now felt confident enough to advance into Hungary, but by that time it was too late.

Next Time: Austria's Last Gleaming

[1] Laskarina Bouboulina was a very impressive woman and someone I wish I had included during the earlier parts of the timeline. A Hero of the Greek War for Independence, she donated her entire fortune and merchant fleet to the Greek war effort, she raised bands of fighters and armed them using her own money, and she actively engaged herself and her family in the fight for independence. She would distinguish herself during several battles and sieges, earning her the respect and interest of the crowned heads of Europe including Tsar Alexander of Russia who would make her an honorary Admiral in the Russian Navy following her death. Sadly she would be caught up in the Greek Civil Wars in 1823 and 1824 and was arrested and exiled to Spetses by the Greek Government due to her close familial relationship to Theodoros Kolokotronis (Panos Kolokotronis was married to Bouboulina's daughter Eleni). Ultimately, she would be killed in 1825 as part of a family feud with the powerful Kostis family of Spetses. I'm honestly not sure whether her fate would be any different in this timeline given the different developments in Greece in the War for Independence, but I'm inclined to think she could have survived the war if things had been a little different.

[2] From OTL. The Kosynierzy were usually peasant soldiers known for their use of war scythes. Surprisingly, they were quite effective during the OTL Kościuszko Uprising, the November Uprising, and the January Uprising and would technically remain in use in the Polish Army as late as the German invasion of Poland in 1939.

[3] Prądzyński would also commit suicide in OTL, allegedly drowning himself while he was in exile on Heligoland in 1850.

[4] While that may seem absurdly large and unbelievable, the Russian Army did indeed boast that many soldiers in OTL. However, this was both a benefit and a negative for the Russians as it became impossible to effectively supply all these men, making it impossible to actually mobilize all of them at once, making that number less of an actual threat and more of a implied threat.
 
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