What if the French Revolution never happened? | Fraternité en Rébellion

Introduction
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It is 1933, and the world stands on a knife's edge.
60 years have past since the Prussian Revolution, yet its effects are still felt across the globe. The Prussian Republic, along with their allies in London, stand as a beacon of republicanism and its ideals. Surrounded by kingdoms and absolutist empires, from the King in Paris to the Sultan in Konstantiniyye, democracy is encircled; yet, the spark has already been lit, and the torch already burns, never to be snuffed out. Revolutionary fervor grows ever stronger within monarchist realms, to one day break the chains of the old and let forth the new.

In the imperial chambers of Paris, the king shudders. Such unorthodox thought, Charles XII fears, seeks to bring an end to a millennium of monarchist rule in Europe, and threatens to upend the old order across the globe. While revolutionary thought had existed ever since the early 18th century, it had remained dormant for many years - the dismantlement of the United States in the 1830s especially, served as a stern warning to dissenters of the consequences and failings of democracy. Yet, the Prussian Revolution would break the radio silence, and begin the chain of events that would lead to the present day.

Europe, and by extension the world, is on a knife's edge. While monarchies and empires continue to span the globe, promises of liberty and revolution have sparked a wave of change that cannot be stopped. The old order trembles, their foundations shaken - Now, in a world torn apart by ideological fault lines, a Great War seems inevitable, in a world split in two.

The FeRmod Development Team presents...
Fraternité en Rébellion
What if the French Revolution never happened?

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Good day! I am Mapperific, Mod Lead of Fraternité en Rébellion. While Fraternité en Rébellion is at heart a Hearts of Iron IV mod, we set out to create an immersive and deep world that the players can wholeheartedly believe in, and set out to create the most in depth lore ever seen from an alternate history project.

A lot of our content has been posted on our respective Reddit threads and subreddit, where we showcase each nation's lore one by one in great detail. As this is a game modification first, and alternate history second, we set out to create a world that has the most flavor, whilst maintaining a strong sense of realism and plausibility. How we will be going about this on this forum, is to lay out each nation's lore here on a regular basis, where it has been polished and refined to excellence, for the enjoyment of you, dear reader.

On behalf of the Development Team, I sincerely hope that you enjoy the work that we have crafted, and can immerse yourself in the world that is Fraternité en Rébellion.
Thank you, and happy reading!

- Mapperific

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New posts and additions will be posted every few days, do check back regularly!
» The Ancestral Rivalry - The History of the British Republic and the Kingdom of France
» Part 1 - The Ancien Regime
» The Germanic States - The History of the Holy Roman Empire and its states
» Part 1
» Part 2
» The Hegemon of Europe - The History of the Austrian Empire
» The Italian Peninsula - The History of the various Italian States
» The Leaders of the British Republic and their Biographies

And more, to be revealed soon...

Use the threadmark system instead to view the table of contents

» Start Here: The Ancestral Rivalry - France


 
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The Ancestral Rivalry - Part 1: The Ancien Regime (France)


The Ancestral Rivalry
History of the British Republic and the Kingdom of France

Part 1: France
The Ancien Regime

While the illustrious history of the Kingdom of France could be dated back to the Age of Charlemagne or even the Franks, it is perhaps best to recount the events which led to its golden 19th century (Les Soixante Glorieuses), its eventual decline, and the rough entry into the 20th century.

The era of the enlightened monarchy arguably started with Louis XVII, the “Dawn King”. Ascending the throne in 1775 after the brief reign of his brother (who died of smallpox in October of the same year), the young king undertook colossal efforts in order to rescue the falling economy. Eventually, his work culminated in the great assembly of the Estates-General of 1785, where the soon to be named “Roi D’aube” managed to change the fortunes of the kingdom.

By giving double representation to the third estate, he managed to crush the nobles and remove their tax exemption privileges. This political manoeuvre was a resounding success and Louis not only managed to get France out of debt, but also established a reputation as an enlightened monarch among the populace, though at the cost of alienating the nobles. Louis XVII still managed to intervene in the American War of Independence and started a naval build-up in the late 1790’s, for war with Perfidious Albion loomed on the horizon. The spark that would ignite a new great European conflict would however come from the New World, as American excursions into British Canada escalated into a full-scale war. Sensing an opportunity to avenge the disastrous defeat of the 7 Years’ War, Louis XVII declared war on Britain in June 1822. He would however not live to see the end of the war, as he would die in September 1826.

The brother of Louis XVII, Charles X, would conduct the rest of the 9 Years’ War. The biggest conflict fought in the modern times so far, this war would span across 3 continents and involve every world power under the sun. And yet, against all odds, France stood victorious. Against the dastardly Teutons on the green fields of the Holy Roman Empire, against the proud Turks in the white sands of Algiers, against the deceitful Brits in the jungles of India and the forests of Quebec, against them all, France stood victorious, its head held high, and a war bounty reaped plenty. The Prussians offered significant monetary compensation and, just as importantly, gave the Kingdom a new flag born from the blood of the King’s Own Regiment during the battle of Hoya. The Ottomans gave France Algeria and Tripolitania. But it would be Britain who would offer the biggest spoils to the victor: The colonies lost in the 7 Years’ War, Quebec and French India. They were returned to their rightful owner in 1831. And like a phoenix from ashes, France was once more ascendant as it rose from the smoke of war, setting course for a bright new era.

With the death of Charles X, his son Louis XVIII would reign during the most prosperous years of France. A commander during the 9 Years' War, he was beloved by his people, but he would not sit upon the laurels of conquest. During his reign, he spearheaded France into the Industrial Revolution, creating railways, factories and jobs. By 1844, France was the 2nd most industrialised centre of the world, quickly catching up to Britain, with a new resurgent class of industrial bourgeoisie. His reign would however be brief, and “le Roi Soldat” died in 1846.

Henry V was the next in line, and under his long reign, France would see the greatest expansion of its colonial empire. Indochina, Siam, Chingtao, Madagascar, Senegal and many more would become part of the French holdings. After a war against the savage Russian bear and rapprochement with the Ottomans in the late 1850s, a canal in Suez was planned and completed. During the same period, Paris itself would undergo a metamorphosis and become truly worthy of being the world’s capital. France, it seemed, was on the top of the world. And from there, the only way was downwards. In 1870 a grain plague, combined with a recession, devastated the countryside. While the rest of the country recovered, the rural areas never truly caught back, and a growing rift between the capital and the provinces became apparent, a division only worsened by the disgruntled rural nobles and the regional separatists. Despite the efforts of the king, this division was never truly solved and would plague France up to this day. Henry V died in 1882, having no sons or close relatives. The French crown would pass to the Spanish side of the Bourbon line, a hard pill to swallow for many nationalists.

Luckily, the new King, once the count of Montizon, now King Jean III of France and Navarre, was a charismatic individual; a truly enlightened monarch some would say. For it was under his rule that the phrase “for the people, just not by the people” earned all its gravitas. Once seated on the throne, he would immediately start a grand series of social reforms, culminating in one of the world's first welfare states. The reforms were in a way revolutionary and included health insurance, pensions, accident insurance and a minimum wage. Moreover, Jean’s ascension to the throne marked the beginning of an even closer relationship with the Kingdom of Spain. And while France was blooming, the North American powderkeg was once again on fire. As Britain and The American Republic waged war, France and its colonial empire remained on the sides. That however would not last.

With the death of Jean III in 1888, his son Charles XI assumed the throne. A stern ruler, he immediately adopted a more aggressive posturing. Yet he would ultimately hold back, a cowardly move for some. The Canadiens wouldn’t wait for the Metropole though, and in 1891 they entered the Great North American War, wishing to regain their "ancestral territories" east of the St. Lawrence. Outflanked, outgunned and now with a threat of a direct French intervention, Britain had no choice but to withdraw, and soon Acadie became part of French Canada. Yet the reign of Charles XI would not be remembered by his conquests, but rather his failures. In 1901, a giant money laundering scheme involving multiple members of the State Cabinet was uncovered. Furious, Charles XI started the so-called "anti-corruption crusades", a de facto purge of the Kingdom's civil administration.

Eventually, the purges started turning against any potential enemy of the Crown, and France became a police state ran by Charles and his secret police, “La Cagoule”. Fear took hold of the economy and a depression on an unprecedented scale shattered the French economy in 1905. Finally, in 1917 Charles passed away and the Cagoule died with him.

The son of Charles XI, Jaime de Borbón, styled Jacques I, was coronated in early 1918. Trying to fix the faults of his ancestor, Jacques restarts the economy, however the recovery is slowed by the Dreadnought Race between France and Britain and, by the end of his reign in 1931, the Kingdom's finances are still looking bleak.

And with this we arrive into modernity, the 1930’s, and the coronation of Alphonse-Charles, styled Charles XII. A benevolent ruler, he now has the difficult task of mending the social and economic wounds of the French nation. Even more concerning however is his poor health, for should he pass away, the succession laws will be in disarray...

The Internal Situation of France

Entering the 1930’s, it is clear to everyone that the golden century of France is over. The anti- corruption crusades destroyed the fragile social balance of the Kingdom and its economy. France is now more than ever dependent on the financial support of its colonies, who are none too happy about the massive increase in taxes and tariffs. The rift between the central, urban areas of France and its more rural and culturally distinct provinces grows ever larger, with multiple revolts taking place during the 1920’s. Yet perhaps the most worrying of all is the matter of succession: Should Alphonse-Charles pass away, the next in the Bourbon line is Alfonso XIII, none other than the king of Spain. Yet France cannot have a foreign ruler according to its fundamental laws, as well as the Treaty of Utrecht. Alfonso recognises this and has already renounced his claim to the French throne, passing it instead to his second son, Jaime. His candidature is... questionable at best, as he lived most of his life in Spain and does not possess the necessary charisma to make up for his cultural differences. Yet no matter the challenges and enemies awaiting the Kingdom, France will surely weather any storm. Vive le Roi, Vive la France!

The Foreign Relations of France

The Kingdom of France maintains the greatest colonial empire on the globe, rivalled only by the British and Spain. Stretching across the Canadian Prairies, the golden beaches of Haiti, the deserts of North Africa and the Jungles of the Indian Subcontinent, the French possessions are numerous indeed. Of course, with this great boon comes a great many burdens: the cost of maintaining and improving the possessions of the Outre-Mer is costly and not all colonial subjects wish to remain a part of the empire.

The Kingdom of Spain is a long-time ally of France. Tied by the Bourbon blood and the blood spilled during the 9 Years' War, “Le Pacte de Famille” is a strong alliance indeed. As long as the Bourbon ties are intertwined, the Kingdoms will weather any storm together.

The Austrian Empire is another ally of the Kingdom. Perhaps not as steadfast as the Spanish Bourbons, the Austrian Habsburgs are still a valuable ally and a primordial piece of the HRE tapestry. More importantly, they will be the first bulwark against the inevitable Prussian aggression. If and when the belligerent Republic will start its Freieist Crusade against the world, Austria shall be the first to meet them on the battlefield.

Though the enemies of France are many, one is constant throughout all ages: Britain. Be they a Monarchy, a Republic, a Union of Crowns or a Congregation of Parliaments, it matters not. For Albion is always perfidious, always scheming, always plotting against France. The Kingdom responds in kind and so the ancestral rivalry continues. During the last great clash between the European powers, the Brits lost, and now, a hundred years later, the islanders yearn for revenge. The Dreadnought Race, the North American intervention, and constant embargoes: a new conflict approaches, it is as evident as the sun rising in the East.


 
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The Ancestral Rivalry - Part 2: The Beacon of Democracy (Britain)
The Ancestral Rivalry
History of the British Republic and the Kingdom of France


Part 2: Britain
The Beacon Of Democracy


The British Republic was born of the chaos following the Crimean War (1853-1856). The monarchy, unpopular after the Empire’s expensive defeat in the 9 Year’s War at the hands of the Franco-Spanish, had once again decided to send British boys abroad to fight over European squabbles. Even more unpalatable to the average Briton - Queen Victoria had sent these British boys to fight alongside the detestable French (who were still trying to charge interest on war reparations). After years of expense and thousands of casualties, the House of Saxe-Coburg and their Tory allies were sitting on a powder keg of popular unrest. Forced to take increasingly autocratic measures to maintain control; it would take little to spark a full scale republican revolution.

That moment came on the morning of December 15th, 1861. The night before, her husband Prince Albert passed away from typhoid fever. Utterly devoted to her ‘Bertie’ and overcome by grief, Queen Victoria committed suicide where her husband had died - in the Blue Room of Windsor Castle. Seized upon by the disparate republican forces, protests engulfed every city in Britain. Disorganized and unprepared, the forces of tradition were unable to resist the tide. Before Prince Edward could return from traveling abroad to galvanize an opposition, liberal forces had declared a new British Republic. Within a few months, it was over. Parliament, now overwhelmed by republicans, were embracing universal male suffrage and nationalizing the estates and wealth of the aristocracy. Prince Edward fled to Hanover, along with any other nobles who refused to swear allegiance to the new Republic.

Britain's Golden Decades of Liberalism (1862-1886)

With the winds of change behind them, the path was clear for the Grand Liberal Coalition to govern uninterrupted for twenty-seven years. Known as the Golden Decades, PM William Gladstone oversaw remarkably consistent economic growth and technological advancement. Beyond some unrest in the land seized from the USA after the 9 Years War, or ex-nobles upset over losing title and estate, peace reigned throughout. Passing reform after reform, the Empire was reforged into a greater Republican Commonwealth. Each colony was granted representation (except occupied New England), while Columbia and Australasia were granted full independence as allied members. Despite protracted resistance from some entrenched elements, esp. rural elites, by 1880 the British Republic was the first European nation with universal public education, universal male suffrage, and even significant factory safety regulation. It was here that Gladstone gained the sobriquet 'the people's minister’ for his tireless efforts at liberalizing a society steeped in old ideas.

The Great North American War (1886-1892)

If only peace could reign forever. Within the Grand Coalition arose a group calling themselves the 'Liberators’, asserting it was the Commonwealth’s duty to spread republicanism to the oppressed masses around the world. Ironically, the ‘Liberator’ PM who succeeded Gladstone not only shattered the Grand Coalition, but did so fighting against a fellow Republic.

The American Republic had never forgotten it’s brutal defeat at the hands of the British in the 9 Years War, and had been preparing revenge ever since (10 Year’s War or The Great War to Americans). Constantly meddling in the stolen territories, occupied New England was a hotbed of arms smuggling, spies, and murder. When a large revolt sparked across old Massachusetts in late 1885, the Americans were quick to take advantage. They sent an ultimatum directly to Parliament demanding the immediate, and unconditional return of all lost territories by December 31st, 1885 (the same date as the surrender of the old USA a half century before). Leaving the ultimatum unanswered, all the British could do was warn their colonial forces of the coming onslaught. The next day, American troops simultaneously marched across the border into New England, and the old Michigan Territory. Just over a million men would die in the conflict over the next four years.

Considered the first “modern” war, the Great North American War saw the first widespread use of bolt-action rifles, machine guns, and rapid fire artillery. The cities and forests of Massachusetts and Maine were the sight of horrific trench warfare where men struggled to find shelter from the horrific storm of lead and steel above. Glacially, the front moved ever northward as the militaristic Americans proved far more willing to sell lives for land. By the end, new innovations such as armored cars, poison gas (subject of a later global treaty banning their use), and walking artillery barrages promised to break the deadlock. None succeeded.

The horrific status quo only changed when (French) Canada suddenly entered the war with a surprise invasion across the St. Lawrence in early 1891. Reserve units, supposed to be on rest from the front, were forced to heroically defend against fresh, well-equipped troops. The entire British front collapsed, with thousands of prisoners taken by the Americans and Quebecois A new defensive line was finally formed, holding just the neck of the Nova Scotian peninsula. With the Quebecois attack a significant Franco-Spanish intervention was inevitable - spurring peace talks with the equally exhausted Americans. In the end, Britain lost both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to Canada, and all previously annexed lands of the former United States to the American Republic. However, as a consolation prize the Republic of Columbia gained land eastward to where the Rocky Mountains met the plains, and the California Protectorate was added as the newest member of the Commonwealth.

Britain in the Sea of Global Mechanization (1892-1910)

Following the immense losses in men and material in the trenches of New England, the people of Britain and the Commonwealth as whole craved stability and order. The destruction of the ‘Tory’ party in 1862 had left a vacuum in the British political sphere. Into that vacuum, MP Benjamin Disraeli had slowly formed a cadre of like-minded politicians. Forced to choose between renouncing his title or following the King into exile, Disraeli chose Britain. Forced to recognize that the British monarchy was dead, those old Tories who clung to the idea of returning the King had to be discarded from his organization. That didn't mean the old values had lost their meaning however; in the ever changing world of industry and technology he built the 'Burkes' (inspired by Edmund Burke) to be the people's shelter of stability from the storm.

With the widespread dissatisfaction of the Grand Coalition after the war, Disraeli’s acolytes were ready to act. Breaking ranks from the Coalition and officially forming the new ‘Burkeist’ party, they were able to achieve a small victory over the Liberals in 1892. For the first time in the Republic’s history, the coalition had broken. For the Liberals, it was a lesson in complacency.

The next decades would be dominated by the Burkeists, led by PM Arthur Balfour. The son of a railroad baron, Balfour gravitated the party toward the desires of big business and industrial progress. Throughout the following decades of nearly uninterrupted Burkeist rule, social reforms were frozen, and the great industrial magnates grew in power and influence behind the scenes. Protectionist and isolationist, the Burkeists retreated from global affairs to focus on domestic affairs. Increasingly the colonies drifted toward autonomy, and the associated Australasian and Columbian Republics were rapidly adopting unique national identities.

Watching industrial profits continuously rise on the London Stock exchange as working conditions deteriorated, the Burkeists and the Liberals watched their working class votes evaporate. More voters were drifting to the radical ideas inspired by the recent Prussian Revolution. Socialism, Radical Republicanism, even Marxism was reaching its tendrils across from the continent; actively promoted by intellectual clubs like the famous “Fabian Society”. Increasingly, the Burkeist power brokers and the traditional Liberals aligned in opposing the infection of radicalism. These tensions came to a head in August 1905, when a coal-miner’s strike in Wales sparked riots and strikes across the entire nation. Many waving revolutionary banners and chanting incendiary dictums, the government panicked.

Calling in British Foreign Service troops (considered less likely to be infected with radicalism than home guards), a two month standoff ensued as the government attempted to negotiate an end to the strike. However, as the requests from the mobs became more and more extreme the Government was forced to do the unthinkable. On the Third Sunday in January 1906, known forever after as the “Bloody Third,” the Foreign Service troops complied with their orders to disperse the protestors and open the factories the only way they knew how - with violence. No reliable number of killed and wounded exist, the government puts it in the dozens but many of those caught in the crossfire quietly claim it must be in the thousands. By the end of March, the factories were reopened, the streets clear, and most unions driven underground. The Government had won.

Led by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Joseph Chamberlain with the tacit approval of PM Balfour, the government had actually been using the final two months of negotiations to cover their preparations. Thousands of striking men were put on lists, and photos of the radical leadership put on priority target cards and spread to the troops. Throughout the weeks following the Bloody Third, thousands of radicals, some bloodthirsty revolutionaries and others simply trying to get a better deal for their families, faced the horrible choice of jail or voluntary exile.

Chamberlain recognized that even with the eventual success in putting down the strikes it had been a horrendous weight on the Burkeist’s popularity. Always a flexible politician, Chamberlain seized the party leadership in the fallout and navigated the party in a completely different direction. Abandoning isolationism, he used the pliable Burkeist newspapers to work up popular fear of the Monarchist powers across the channel. He knew that on a tide of monarchist fear he could ensure reelection for years to come, so all he needed was an ally in the armed forces.

The Great Dreadnought Race (1910-1930)

Born John Arbuthnot Fisher, the founding mind behind the modern Republican Navy will be indelibly known as "Jackie". Serving with distinction as a cruiser Captain and later squadron commodore during the Great North American War, it would be Fisher's contributions as an innovator that are best remembered. Although the limited American naval forces were largely bottled up in blockade throughout the war, several of the American raiding cruisers (such as the second USS Constitution) were able to sortie and frequently wreak havoc on British supply ships. Fisher noted these cruisers were simultaneously made better armed/armored than their British opposites, while far faster than any battleship able to outshoot them. If a more major maritime power, such as France or Spain were to build like the Americans, the critical supply lines to the isles could be cut. From these experiences came the idea of a Three-Ocean Navy, able to protect home waters from continental powers and protect the convoys around Cape Horn.

For local seas, he commissioned RNS Dreadnought in 1908 - the first 'all big gun' battleship. Immediately, the inherent firepower advantage in her design rendered all other vessels obsolete. The second innovation was the "battlecruiser" RNS Invincible and her two sisters; they combined the speed of a raiding cruiser with Dreadnought's firepower to chase down and summarily destroy enemy raiders who threatened republican convoys.

As an unintended consequence, Dreadnought and Invincible also rendered the entire existing Republican Navy obsolete. Combined with the national embarrassment of the Nova Scotia Crisis of 1910 against the hated “Latins” (Franco-Spanish), a global naval building spree began. Expanding to every slipway from Vancouver to St. Petersburg, the Great Naval Races had begun; an economic weight that would define global tensions for the next two decades. For the short-sighted PM Chamberlain however, it was just the popular fire he needed to stay in power.

The spending spree could not last forever - Chamberlain’s successor inherited an unsustainable situation. In 1913, a stock run on naval equipment began to panic the entire economy. As a result of the continuously spiking costs of steel and naval materials, the Burkeist government had enacted a price control policy for military contracts. As the enormous weight of new naval building accelerated, civilian shippers and construction companies struggled to bear the burden of increased prices. Falling on deaf ears with the Government, the financial dam burst after they announced the construction of eight more capital ships. Companies as diverse as Cunard Lines and John Brown Shipbuilding saw their stock values plummet - falling prey to rolling bankruptcy.

In response, the Liberal opposition was able to mount a successful campaign for new elections. Unlike in 1905-06 where the Burkeists maintained integrity under Chamberlain, in 1913 they broke. By the end of the year the Second Grand Liberal Coalition was in power. Strategically unable to slow the military construction with the tensions driven up by the Burkeists, the Coalition had to come up with a solution that could satisfy both the economic crisis and perceived military necessity. Unsurprisingly, the solution was to go deeply into debt. Spending the Burkeists’ small budget surplus within months and taking millions in loans from the colonies, the Liberals managed to catch the economic fall and prevent slowing naval construction.

As the years wore on, and the deficit continued to balloon, it became clear that kicking the problem ten years into the future did not solve it. While the people are content to vote for the Grand Coalition as long as economic success continues and their shores are defended by new dreadnoughts, will they continue that support when the debt crisis has to be solved?

The Nation Reflects (1930-Present Day)

The economic scale of the "Three Ocean Navy," has been titanic. Increasingly, the citizens of the British Republic believe they are paying a disproportionate burden compared to their Commonwealth brethren abroad. Two decades of the Second Grand Coalition in Parliament asking Britons to tighten their belts has worn down the resolve of the public - and where frustration grows so does radicalism. For the first time since the Crisis of 1905 the citizens are questioning the foundations of the Republic. The debt crisis has only worsened as the Coalition sought to stay in power with welfare-state reforms. However these limited reforms have only agitated those worried about the deficit, and been far too little to appease the struggling poor. The True Liberals face a myriad of challenges in the upcoming election, perhaps it is time to return to the basics of liberal ideals to show the people the true colors of the Coalition.

While not a current threat to the Grand Coalition, the Burkeists have been growing in power since their downfall after the 1913 election to the Second Grand Coalition. Retreating to their isolationist roots, the Burkeists campaign on the idea of an ‘Unencumbered Commonwealth’ - a retreat from the constant rivalry with the Continental monarchists, drastically reducing spending, and bringing Commonwealth investments back home.

Labour, once a minor partner in the Liberal Grand Coalition, is another threat on the horizon. They hold a critical group of seats keeping the Coalition in power...but it is becoming a deal with the devil. Increasingly, Ramsay MacDonald’s party has been hijacked from within by outspoken, radical MPs. Influenced by the satirical and piercing writings of the anonymous ‘George Orwell’, these radicals are increasingly approaching the level of Socialism that caused the Bloody Third. Ellen Wilkinson leads an influential seat (despite not being able to vote) from Jarrow amongst the disenfranchised shipwrights of the now profitable Palmer shipyard. She espouses the inherent inequality of unfettered capitalism to all who can hear, proposing a return to active social reforms, and universal suffrage. Even more worrisome, Wal Hannington’s Marxist rallies around the nation are growing. He claims that the way forward is a complete revolution, and Britain should become the central hub in a new global United Worker’s Republic. The government may be forced to act to suppress such sedition.

Luckily, few yet take Hannington's words literally. Abrasive and aggressive, his speeches seem to lose appeal to those outside the industrial workforce. If there is any truth to the rumor of the Fabian Society’s survival after the Bloody Third, then Hannington may be merely the tip of a radical iceberg.


 
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The Germanic States: The History Of The Holy Roman Empire And Its States - Part 1


The Germanic States
And The History Of The Holy Roman Empire


Part 1
In the news from Nürnberg
: the current sitting of the Reichsrat has been cut short as the Prussian delegation was booed out. The Elector-Präsident of Brandenburg did not even get the chance to present his bill of reforms concerning the Zollverein's trade policy with the Commonwealth. The Archbishop of Münster especially was noted by the tabloid press to have had a rather "sinful" behaviour in the session.

This is the third gathering of the Imperial Legislative in less than a year to end in total deadlock as the ideological divide within the Empire grows ever stronger. Some states threaten legal action at the Frankfurt Court against what they see as Prussia's "illegal promotion of republicanism outside of its frontiers", while Prussia flaunts its status of imperial immediacy. Analysts comment that, while the Emperor could in theory take immediate action under a majority mandate, this act would likely plunge the HRE directly into war. The atmosphere grows more and more tense as the republicans, the crowned heads and the ecclesiastical chiefs all fail to find common ground. One can only wonder for how much longer can the HRE's institutions maintain their semblance of functionality in the face of mounting rivalries. Some more sensationalist politicians are even calling this a "new 30 Years' War in the making". We certainly hope their predictions will prove to be false.

Unter dem Doppeladler: The Habsburg Realm

The Austrian Empire stands tall as the uncontested hegemon of Central Europe
. The influence of Vienna extends from the plains and forests of Central and Southern Germany to the Balkans and the plains of western Ukraine. Strong as they may seem, the past century has been tumultuous for the Habsburg Monarchy, and under the outer shell of a Great Power lie many cracks ready to widen at the slightest pressure applied.

In line with the latest trends of the Enlightenment, Kaiser Joseph II (1765-1790) initiated the Austrian reforms towards enlightened absolutist rule. Through the continued pursuit of enlightened absolutism, his successor Franz II will inaugurate the Metternich-Bach era in the Empire. The Habsburg realm was centralized, reformed into a unitary Austrian Empire, local autonomies were scrapped, taxation was streamlined, the church remained empowered. Austria began the 19th century as one of the great continental European powers. It was also the first of them to witness the potential danger of the emerging republican ideas, when the Brabant Revolution erupted in 1789 in the Habsburg Southern Netherlands. Crushing the revolution in its infancy assured that those dangerous republican ideals didn’t spread anywhere in the neighbouring areas and that Austria maintained control over Belgium. Austria managed to maintain the Holy Roman Empire, and within it a dominant position…

(Almost) Millenary Empire: The HRE

Spread across the middle of the Old Continent, an old institution endures to this day: the Holy Roman Empire
. Within it, the German states still conduct their political and diplomatic lives as they have done for almost a millennium. The Emperor still rules over a largely disunited realm, but efforts have been made throughout the 19th century to bring the Empire and its institutions into the modern age. Caught between the shackles of the old order and the fervor of the new ideals, the space of Central Europe is guaranteed to have interesting evolutions over the next decade.

Tensions reached a critical point in 1821, when the conflict between the US and Britain escalated in North America. France entered the war on the American side, and Prussia judged this to be an opportune moment to expand its influence in western Germany, as they calculated that the French would be too preoccupied with the overseas war. When Prussia marched in troops in the Archbishopric of Munster and the Electoral Palatinate, Austria issued an ultimatum urging Prussia to stop aggressive actions against all HRE sovereign entities. Prussia refused and as such Austria and Prussia went to war. By this point, the escalation had passed the point of no return and the 9 Years’ War had begun.

France was able to muster an army to challenge Prussia on the Rhine, while Austria focused its efforts on defeating Prussia in central Germany and Silesia. Shortly after the start of the war, Russia, being dissatisfied with the 3rd Partition borders, declared war on Prussia, hoping to gain Polish territory. The Austrians initially made progress against the Prussians, but new problems emerged when the Ottomans, spurred by Prussian and British diplomacy, invaded the Banat and Transylvania, which were only guarded by the local grenzer regiments. Until 1826, neither side managed to gain the upper hand, and many bloody battles were fought. By the end of 1826, combined Austro-Russian troops pushed back the Ottoman armies and managed to invade the Danubian Principalities. Prussia, despite its commanders’ best efforts, was losing the war of attrition.

In the summer of 1827, after Austria and Russia managed to secure beachheads across the Danube in multiple points and threatened to push deep into the Balkans, the Turks sued for peace. Wallachia and Moldavia were granted nominal independence but saw encroaching Austrian and Russian influence in practice. Russia also enforced clauses regarding its right to protect Balkan Christians. Free of Turkish pressure, the Austrians and Russians then turned their attention to Prussia again, and together with the French armies managed to bring Berlin to the negotiating table by the end of 1828. Russia saw modest territorial gains in New East Prussia, with Prussia losing the Bialystok and Grodno areas. Austria tried to wrestle Silesia away from Prussia in the negotiations but failed.

Following the Franco-Austrian victory in the 9 Years’ War (1830), a wide reorganisation of the HRE was put in action, under Austrian guidance (and French requests), meant to consolidate fewer, bigger states to serve as a stronger deterrent against Prussian expansion. Church territories were drastically reduced, most of the Free Imperial Cities were annexed into neighbouring polities and enclaves and exclaves were exchanged for a streamlining of state boundaries in a process that became known as the “HRE Mediatization”.

After the events of the 9 Years’ War, the Habsburgs as Holy Roman Emperors took steps towards modernizing the institutions of the HRE. The Perpetual Diet that had been functioning in Regensburg from the late 17th century was disbanded both due to the city’s support for the Prussian cause in the war and because many considered it to have become “hopelessly powerless”.

Instead, a Reichsrat with modernized legislature was put in place in Nurnberg, reinstating this city’s old tradition of hosting the Diets. Nurnberg’s neutrality in the war certainly helped its cause. The traditional three-layered house layout (Electors’ College, Princes’ College, Cities’ College) was kept, but their attributes and means of interaction were revamped. The Reichskammergericht (Imperial Chamber Court) was further strengthened and given full judiciary independence; the competing Aulic Council from Vienna was disbanded, thus elevating the R.k.gr. to supreme court status. Due to its small headquarters city of Wetzlar being annexed during the Mediatization, the R.k.gr. was moved to its city of origin, Frankfurt am Main, which was still a prosperous Free City.

One of the primary topics of debate in the early sittings of the Reichsrat in the 1830s was the establishment of a customs union. That policy was finally implemented in 1840 with the establishment of the Zollverein. All these reforms gave the HRE a semblance of relevance and modernity, and helped to further the Habsburgs’ dominance of its affairs. On the shores of the Baltic, Prussia was increasingly dissatisfied with these developments; it actively sabotaged the Zollverein by not taking part in it.

Another important event for HRE politics took place in 1862, when the declaration of the republican British Commonwealth forced Edward VII and the British royal family into exile. They were received in Hannover owing to their direct family ties, but the Hannoverian throne was occupied by Ernest Augustus, Edward’s great uncle. This was because according to Hannover’s Salic law, Queen Victoria had not been able to inherit the throne as a woman. However, the dethroned British royals were now eager to regain political authority and an uneasy relationship developed between the two branches. Edward VII was determined to use both his Hannoverian and Saxe-Coburg Gotha lineages to climb to a position of preeminence in the HRE.

Freiheit, Gleichheit, Brüderlichkeit: Prussian Republic

On the background of increasing Austrian influence over the whole HRE, Prussia attempted to weaken its rival through subversion.
The disgruntled Hungarian elites of 1848 Kossuth’s War of Independence provided the means. Prussia financed and equipped general Gyorgy Klapka’s rebel army as they launched another freedom fight in 1866. However, Klapka’s rebellion was defeated within the year, and with clear evidence of Prussian meddling, the Austrians marched on Silesia. However, the almost-constant budgetary deficit that Prussia had experienced since the disaster of the 9 Years’ War meant that the Prussian Army did not reform into an efficient, meritocratic war machine; the Junkers kept many estate privileges, limiting the efficiency of the Landwehr mobilisation. The lack of funding throughout the 1840’s and 1850’s also prevented the Prussian War Ministry from funding Dresye’s needle gun designs.

Inconclusive battles were fought at first, but as the time went by Austria’s superior numbers started making themselves felt. The fact that most of the HRE joined the war on the Austrian side didn’t help Prussia either, since it now had to divert a third of its armed forces to counter the hostile German states. Prussia attempted a decisive attack into Bohemia. The ensuing battle of Trautenau ended up being a pyrrhic victory for the Prussians, who lost almost 3 times more men than the Austrians. When the armies met again one week later at Koniggratz, the Prussian forces were outnumbered 2 to 1. The battle ended with an Austrian victory, and the Austrians chased the routing Prussians back across the border. In the HRE space, the fighting was inconclusive, but the overall materiel and manpower attrition was proving to be too much for Prussia. The Prussian Army was incapable of mounting a sturdy resistance against the Austrian advancements into Silesia. After the decisive defeat at the Battle of Breslau, Prussia sued for peace. The Treaty of Prague (1870) saw Prussia lose Silesia to the Austrians. Furthermore, its position within the HRE was weakened even more, as most states came to accept Austria’s dominance by this point. The Austro-Prussian War (1867-1868) ended in a decisive defeat for Prussia. Silesia was annexed by Austria and the country’s political and military leadership was thrown into disarray. Prussia would never really recover from this and 10 years later events from Berlin would shock the world.

In 1878, after a series of bad harvest seasons that saw grain prices rise exponentially, a violent revolt broke out in Berlin, the crowds demanding political representation and the abolition of the monarchy. The army was ordered to fire on the crowds, but after intense street fighting the city garrison was overwhelmed, since it didn’t manage to bring its artillery to bear soon enough. King Wilhelm I tried to flee Berlin under a loyalist military escort but his convoy was intercepted by the republicans and he was subsequently placed under house arrest, together with his wife and the heir apparent Friedrich III. Republican fervour quickly spread throughout Prussia and soon a full-on civil war erupted between the loyalist Prussian Army and the loose association of republican forces. The republicans issued the historic Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, asserting their principles of popular sovereignty and social equality among citizens.

The king’s grandson, Wilhelm II, was leading the loyalist forces as he had been fortunate enough to be in a visit in East Prussia when the revolt started. In a moment of loyalist momentum on the frontlines, the Nationalkonvent (National Assembly) of the newborn Prussian Republic made a drastic decision: The king and the heir apparent were to be publicly executed. On 11 November 1878, King Wilhelm I, his wife Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and their son, the heir apparent Friedrich III, were all put to the guillotine. This brutal act sent shockwaves across Ancien Europe, and many of the continent’s monarchies were considering military intervention at once in order to stop the “barbaric republicans”.

Nevertheless, the odds turned in the republicans’ favour soon enough: in Prussia’s Rhineland province, a republican insurrection broke out as well. However, those were of the socialist variety, being led by Wilhelm Liebknecht. His Socialist Party was heavily influenced by Marx’s writings, and Marx himself wasted little time travelling to Essen and agitating for a proletarian revolution, in spite of his older age. In the east, another unlikely ally appeared: after the Royal Family of Prussia was executed and the revolution and civil war started in Berlin, the makeshift militias saw quick victories, however by the 21st of November, the Royal Army seemed to have started turning the tide. Several Polish republicanist leaders, such as Ludwik Waryński, proposed the establishment of a "Polish sister-republic" to the Prussian Republic, and to secure victory for both the Polish and the Prussian people. Karl Shurz and Ludwik Waryński met in Warsaw to discuss this proposed Polish polity. After a week of constant debate, borders and policies were agreed to, and the somewhat autonomous (sister-)Republic of Warsaw was created. Its purpose was to secure Polish self-determination within the new Prussian state, and the success of the overall Prussian Revolution. This new wave of Polish support greatly boosted the fighters' morale.

The socialist republicans of the Rhine, the Freieists of Brandenburg and the Polish Republicans of Warsaw formed a united front and joined their forces to defeat the Royal Army. At the same time, the young British Commonwealth issued a guarantee of non-interference enforcement in Prussian affairs; this effectively meant that France risked going to war with Britain if it wanted to step in against the republicans. Polish revolts also erupted in Austrian and Russian partitioned Poland, and Austria was also starting to experience the reverberations of its Bloody Decade. This seemed almost like divine intervention for the Prussian Republic, as at the end of the day no major European monarchy managed to mobilise and march against Berlin. By the end of 1879, the Prussian Royal Army was defeated and the Republic secured. The United Front had won. Engaged in a collapsing fighting retreat in October 1879, Wihelm II managed to cross the border into Anhalt and then found refuge in Hannover.

In the Shadow of the Two Giants: Electors, Princes and Cities of the HRE

Throughout the 19th century and all the way into 1933, the varied polities of the Empire have had to carefully navigate the Austro-Prussian rivalry.
Some cling to dear existence by employing clever diplomacy, while others dream of re-establishing past glories. Whether with the help of the Emperor or against him, the states of the Holy Roman Empire will certainly have their own words to say in the decade to come.

The Electorate of Hanover, with its relatively big powerbase and strategic position, is home to many disgruntled elites of the old order who wish to avenge their loss and reclaim their birthright. If they can navigate the domestic politics of Hanover and the imperial instability looming above the HRE, they stand a good chance to succeed.

In the Catholic Archbishoprics of the west, unrest is mounting. Some see the Church authority as a relic of the past that must go, while others are upset at the perceived decadence and weakness of the Catholic institutions and are calling for a “renewal of the faith”. Overimposed is the status quo, maintained by Franco-Austrian force and Papal leverage.

The Electorate of Bavaria is Vienna’s favourite child. A loyal, catholic member of the HRE, Bavaria is one of the main beneficiaries of continued Austrian influence over the Empire. If the Austrians will ever consider sponsoring German unification with a national discourse, they are likely to look to Bavaria for a stable and dependable junior partner. That is, if the Habsburg Realm will remain united…

In the Electorate of Saxony, the fear and hatred of Freieism grow ever stronger. Being one of the first targets of Prussian republican expansionism, the Uprising of 1914 left a permanent scar on the psyche of the Saxons. Only one year after the end of the revolt, dissident elements including the nascent pan-German nationalists, led by their charismatic leader Martin Bormann, started the March on Dresden in 1915 and forced the aging Duke Frederick Augustus to install him as Chancellor while also greatly reducing the roles of the monarchy. Under a strongman platform, the Saxons have two main tenets: Firstly, republicanism can never be allowed to come to power under any circumstances; secondly, in order to combat republicanism, Germany must be united in coalition against it.

On the shores of the North and Baltic Seas, the once-prosperous Free Cities of the Hanseatic League are a meagre shadow of their former selves. Now a center for money laundering, debauchery and smuggling, these loosely associated cities must go through a period of radical reforms if they wish to reclaim economic hegemony and with it, the Crown of the Baltic.

Going inland, the few Free Imperial Cities left struggle for relevance and power. They will have to use their increased recognition granted by the reformed Reichsrat smartly if they wish to preserve their integrity. However, petty interests risk antagonizing them against each other, with potentially unwanted results. As bureaucratic centres and unofficial administrative capitals of the HRE, Nurnberg and Frankfurt yield the most influence within the College of the Free Cities.

Later Years and Into the 20th Century

The Prussian Revolution shocked Old Europe, but as 1880 dawned, the monarchies were put in front of a fait accompli.
The Republic in the heart of Central Europe was there to stay. The years after 1880 were characterized by the period known as the Terrorherrschaft (The Reign of Terror). The Freieist administration, led by revolutionary Karl Schurz and his Wohlfahrtsausschuss (Committee of Public Safety), saw enemies of the Revolution and reactionaries everywhere, and tens of thousands of death sentences were carried out in Prussia between 1880 and 1886. They popularized an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions by beheading, conceived by a French physicist in the 18th century. The device was made of a tall, upright frame with a weighted and angled blade suspended at the top. The blade was to be released, swiftly and forcefully decapitating the victim with a single, clean pass. The guillotine became best known for its use in Prussia, where the revolution's supporters celebrated it as the people's avenger, while the revolution's opponents vilified it as a pre-eminent symbol of the violence of the Terrorherrschaft.

By the end of the decade, the revolutionary fervour and the fear of outside intervention were both toning down, and the intensity of the Terror slowly went down as well. However, this episode would forever mark the identity and the psyche of the young republic. The years of the Terrorherrschaft will be turned into an epochal event in subsequent historiography, with it becoming almost a foundational mythos of the Prussian Republic. Any leading political figure wishing to denounce the radicalism that has come to guide Prussia’s destiny must do so very carefully, lest he will be branded an “enemy of the revolution”.

As the Republic slowly matured, its political institutions became more clearly defined as well. The Nationalkonvent was reformed into the Staatsrat (State Council), the republic’s single-chamber legislative. Deputies to the Staatsrat were to be elected by all Prussian male citizens twenty-five years old or more, domiciled for at least one year and living by the product of their labor. The Staatsrat was, therefore, the first European assembly elected by suffrage without distinctions of class. Deputies of the Staatsrat would then vote on choosing 5 members to make up the Direktorium, which would serve as the executive. The 5 members would serve as Präsident (head of state) in rotation. From the beginnings of the republic’s domestic politics, the effects of the unlikely alliance that had been the United Front were felt: the constitution stipulated that the Direktorium had to “fairly” represent the 3 factions, so 1 seat each was reserved for the Rhineland Kreis (which had a clear socialist preference) and the Autonomous Republic of Warsaw, respectively. The infamous WFaS (Committee of Public Safety) was kept as an institution but its extraordinary executive powers were removed. Instead, it was reformed into an internal security agency, tasked with tracking, finding and eliminating the “enemies of the revolution”. In essence, it functioned like an overly-authoritative Interior Ministry, with elements of a secret police.

The republican government begrudgingly decided to maintain Prussia within the structure of the HRE. This was due to multiple reasons, chiefly among which was the practical need to be in the Zollverein in order to keep a proper economic link to the Rhineland Kreis. There were no laws in the Empire prohibiting republicanism in itself, so the Emperor was also in the uncomfortable position of not having the legal means to expel Prussia. In an unusual fashion, the Prussian Republic still held the Electoral seat of Brandenburg. As such, the President of the Republic was also the Elector of Brandeburg in the HRE’s Reichsrat.

Ever since 1880, the monarchist-republican divide has been growing ever more central in HRE politics. While republicanism is still largely confined within the borders of the Prussian Republic, dark clouds are clearly gathering above the skies of Central Europe. The North Saxon Revolution of 1914 which saw chunks of the Electorate of Saxony fall to Prussian Freieism has created a “Republican Scare” within the HRE, with the monarchies and the ecclesiastical authorities becoming more and more radical in their opposition to Prussia. They demand the Emperor to issue extended guarantees of protection and to take measures to curb republicanism. Conversely, underground republican clubs and movements are becoming more and more widespread. The sittings of the Reichsrat often degenerate into shouting and booing contests, as the HRE seems to be headed towards a crisis that could surpass even that of the Thirty Years’ War.

 
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Very nice update. I like the description of the French Revolution-analogue in Prussia. It's similar enough to the French Revolution to provide a semblance of OTL history that readers can find commonality with but different enough to showcase the originality of this ATL.
 
The Habsburg realm was centralized, reformed into a unitary Austrian Empire, local autonomies were scrapped, taxation was streamlined, the church remained empowered. Austria began the 19th century as one of the great continental European powers
Why do the Habsburgs create the Austrian Empire here in this timeline? I genuinely confused by this. In otl they only did so after Napoleon utterly smashed the HRE. After many of the old electors were forcefully made subservient to Napoleon, or willingly allied with him (in the case of Bavaria), Kaiser Franz II was scared that Napoleon would try to take the Imperial Title. Knowing Napoleon and his fondness for the Carolingians and the legacy of Rome, this was a real possibility. The HRE here is still going with its political continuity so there's no real need to create one unitary state, as the Habsburgs would have been content with the composite monarchy they had. Arguably the unitary Empire kind hurt the Austrians as they now had one large multi-ethnic Empire without much real legitimacy as the Austrian Empire now was split in its focus between Germany, the Balkans, and Italy. If anything it would have made more sense for Austria to use the vehicle of the HRE here to more properly centralize/federalize it. The HRE after all was still a super-national entity and had legitimacy. This could serve as the vehicle of German unification.

Why wasn't the Prussian Republic immediately crushed here? Prussia in the 19th Century saw its army stagnate. The Habsburgs with their armies and resources from the HRE, Hungary, Italy, and from other allies like the Russians, Scandinavians, and even France itself could have been used to crush them. Prussia was not France, and it didn't have the population or means to take on all of Europe in the way France did. Prussia was also not as strong here as it was in the later 19th Century as it didn't have all the Rhine provinces as well.

Why did France never really focus on expansion at all in the rest of the 19th century within Europe? What was its continental foreign policy?
 
Very nice update. I like the description of the French Revolution-analogue in Prussia. It's similar enough to the French Revolution to provide a semblance of OTL history that readers can find commonality with but different enough to showcase the originality of this ATL.
Thank you! We appreciate it very much
 
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Why did France never really focus on expansion at all in the rest of the 19th century within Europe? What was its continental foreign policy?

Concerning the Foreign policy towards HRE, the 9 Years war and the subsequent HRE mediatisation forced the Kingdom to adapt a new stance. Austria was now a strategic ally and needed to be supported against other less friendly members of HRE (most notably Prussia but also other members, such as Hanover). Another reason is the fact that during the 19th century all the French monarchs were either focused on industrial development or colonial expansion.

On regards to your other questions, ill get back to you once I clarify with the respective devs on my team.
 

Thomas1195

Banned
France is not going to beat Britain with a post-1785 POD in a naval and colonial war, certainly not in North America and absolutely not in India where Britain already achieved complete supremacy from 1818 IOTL, while fighting both Prussia and the Ottoman Empire, without a huge handwawing that is borderline ASB. In addition, a Britain that is capable of annexing New England would also be able to annex the largely low-populated French Louisiana including New Orleans instead of losing the low-hanging fruit that is Quebec.

Just because France somehow began to tax the nobles, it does not mean that its crushing debt is going away quickly. The huge debt is still there to boot, and France lacks developed financial institutions to reduce the costs of debts. So, France is not going to launch a naval buildup in 1790 unless she wants a Revolution to occur - she is simply unable to do so. In Meanwhile, barring a sufficiently horrible disaster between 1785 and 1826 (which apparently never exists ITTL as well) Britain would continue to accelerate away from France, which lacks coal even with Wallonia in comparison to Britain, in terms of economic development and industrialization. By 1826, Britain would already leave France too far behind.
 
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Love it! I've been following this mod for months and you can guess my surprise seeing a thread on AH about this!
 
From the perspective of political theory I find this profoundly implausible. For example, Karl Marx seems to have basically the same ideas that he has in OTL. However, Marx was profoundly influenced by the French revolution and its aftermath. If the French Revolution does not happen it is utterly implausible that Marx would develop the same ideas of class struggle. For OTL Marx he had the example of the bourgeois overthrowing the nobility. Therefore, the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeois is a logical progression. Without that first event, which does not happen ITL, Marx's theories would be entirely different, or more likely he would continued his academic career.
 
Why wasn't the Prussian Republic immediately crushed here? Prussia in the 19th Century saw its army stagnate. The Habsburgs with their armies and resources from the HRE, Hungary, Italy, and from other allies like the Russians, Scandinavians, and even France itself could have been used to crush them. Prussia was not France, and it didn't have the population or means to take on all of Europe in the way France did. Prussia was also not as strong here as it was in the later 19th Century as it didn't have all the Rhine provinces as well.
Polish revolts, British guarantee of non interference and revolts and internal issues in Austria and Russia meant that Prussia could survive for longer; see this text directly quoted from above
The socialist republicans of the Rhine, the Jacobins of Brandenburg and the Polish Republicans of Warsaw formed a united front and joined their forces to defeat the Royal Army. At the same time, the young British Commonwealth issued a guarantee of non-interference enforcement in Prussian affairs; this effectively meant that France risked going to war with Britain if it wanted to step in against the republicans. Polish revolts also erupted in Austrian and Russian partitioned Poland, and Austria was also starting to experience the reverberations of its Bloody Decade. This seemed almost like divine intervention for the Prussian Republic, as at the end of the day no major European monarchy managed to mobilise and march against Berlin. By the end of 1879, the Prussian Royal Army was defeated and the Republic secured. The United Front had won. Engaged in a collapsing fighting retreat in October 1879, Wihelm II managed to cross the border into Anhalt and then found refuge in Hannover.
 
From the perspective of political theory I find this profoundly implausible. For example, Karl Marx seems to have basically the same ideas that he has in OTL. However, Marx was profoundly influenced by the French revolution and its aftermath. If the French Revolution does not happen it is utterly implausible that Marx would develop the same ideas of class struggle. For OTL Marx he had the example of the bourgeois overthrowing the nobility. Therefore, the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeois is a logical progression. Without that first event, which does not happen ITL, Marx's theories would be entirely different, or more likely he would continued his academic career.
Correct, Karl Marx's theories are indeed different from our own timeline. We will be posting a teaser with more information on the ideologies in the near future.
 
From the perspective of political theory I find this profoundly implausible. For example, Karl Marx seems to have basically the same ideas that he has in OTL. However, Marx was profoundly influenced by the French revolution and its aftermath. If the French Revolution does not happen it is utterly implausible that Marx would develop the same ideas of class struggle. For OTL Marx he had the example of the bourgeois overthrowing the nobility. Therefore, the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeois is a logical progression. Without that first event, which does not happen ITL, Marx's theories would be entirely different, or more likely he would continued his academic career.
Oh, no, Marx is different. And a whole lot less relevant, actually. Those teasers came during the time of the ideology rework, so they're relatively light on what exactly the various ideologies believe in. Later teasers are better in this regard. Still, while Marx, even with somewhat different ideas, is still mildly influential, socialism is more multi-polar, in FeR, for example, part of Sicily is controlled by TTL's version of the Fasci Siciliani, which are influential in their won right.
 
So a General Estates gets called, dominated by the Third Estate, and all they do is remove the noble exemption and then peacefully dissolve? All the work of the philosophes, all the anger at feudalism, all the urban poverty, all the cahiers de doléances, just magically disappear?

And somehow the simple act of removing the taxation exemptions magics France into a naval and industrial power par excellence? Never mind the need to post a standing army along long borders while also funding a navy, never mind the lower quality of French ships and sailors, never mind the terrible shape of the French EIC, never mind the much reduced coal reserves relative to Britain, never mind the many other outdated elements of the French fiscal state, never mind the lack of a national bank, never mind the mass of internal customs and legal regime borders, never mind the lack of capital protections, never mind the lack of the merchant class in policy formation, never mind the much lower literacy. All it takes is one assembly passing one reform and our history is completely reversed.
 
Why do the Habsburgs create the Austrian Empire here in this timeline? I genuinely confused by this. In otl they only did so after Napoleon utterly smashed the HRE. After many of the old electors were forcefully made subservient to Napoleon, or willingly allied with him (in the case of Bavaria), Kaiser Franz II was scared that Napoleon would try to take the Imperial Title. Knowing Napoleon and his fondness for the Carolingians and the legacy of Rome, this was a real possibility. The HRE here is still going with its political continuity so there's no real need to create one unitary state, as the Habsburgs would have been content with the composite monarchy they had. Arguably the unitary Empire kind hurt the Austrians as they now had one large multi-ethnic Empire without much real legitimacy as the Austrian Empire now was split in its focus between Germany, the Balkans, and Italy. If anything it would have made more sense for Austria to use the vehicle of the HRE here to more properly centralize/federalize it. The HRE after all was still a super-national entity and had legitimacy. This could serve as the vehicle of German unification.
At the turn of the 19th century, there was a fear of radicalism within the monarchies in Europe,due to for instance the Brabant Revolution that spread some republican ideas. Enlightened absolutism was also a prevalent idea and a big part of being an enligtened absolutist was to centralise your kingdom. Of course, the main reason is how having a unified Austrian Empire took priority to meet their purpose in game, due to flavour, which always takes priority as long as the lore behind it is plausible enough. Always worth keeping in mind that its not meant to be the most realistic scenario since its a game modification.
 
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