WI Germany Took Indochina Instead Of Alsace-Lorraine In Treaty of Frankfurt?

The Prussian leadership that dominated the North German Confederation never wanted to take Alsace-Lorraine in the treaty of Frankfurt, not wanting a permanent enemy in France. But the south german states demanded it, seeing it as a buffer against Paris's aggression. France, for their part was willing to offer Germany what they held in Indochina at the time (though Bismarck especially was wary of this offer as well for dislike of colonial ambitions). What if leaders in berlin were able to convince the southern states that taking Alsace would only draw french anger towards them, and thus wasn't in their interest?

How would this shape Europe? I have to imagine France would still be angry on principle, even if they didn't have as strong a pinpoint for their revaunchism, and this deal would actually sour British and german relations faster as Germany needs a powerful navy even more than otl. How would the 3rd republic handle their own imperial adventures in Africa and Asia? would they take a more active stance in the former to hold more than the Sahara and Gabon? Or would they redouble their efforts in asia, perhaps coercing the Philippines out of Spain and try harder to dominate Thailand?
 
I actually think there's a good chance they get kicked out by the Chinese-backed Black Flag army. The French had a lot of trouble dealing with them, and the Germans would have far less ability to supply operations against them with their far smaller navy.
 
the Germans would have far less ability to supply operations against them with their far smaller navy.
Well, ITTL it could give the incentive to shift the focus from only Europe to East Asia alongside of an earlier interest in the development and/or it 'd be accelerating the creation of the Hochseeflotte...
 
Well, ITTL it could give the incentive to shift the focus from only Europe to East Asia alongside of an earlier and/or 'd be accelerating the creation/development of the Hochseeflotte...
while i wasn't aware of how much difficulty france had subduing the region at first, this is part of what I was thinking, hence my comment about alienating Britain sooner
 
while i wasn't aware of how much difficulty france had subduing the region at first, this is part of what I was thinking, hence my comment about alienating Britain sooner
Also, even more cause I'd guess that both would be rivalling, too, in China due to a more nearer base and thus stronger interest and capabilities from Germany, to project power there, than OTL...
 
how would this impact the scramble for Africa? would Germany demand a bigger chunk of south Africa or even somallia if it meant more effective protection of Deutsch Südostasien?
 
how would this impact the scramble for Africa? would Germany demand a bigger chunk of south Africa or even somallia if it meant more effective protection of Deutsch Südostasien?
Not bigger but different, cause they 'd be interested, at least initially, to get useful stops for their ships/fleet in the way from Germany to ''Deutsch Südostasien''.
 
Well, one thing is that the French didn't have that much of Indochina at the time of Frankfurt. They held Saigon and the 6 southern provinces, and a protectorate over Cambodia. It's possible, that if this deal was made (which seems a bit unlikely), that the Germans might not have been as aggressive about pushing into Annam and (what is now) Laos, having less resources (and political will) that they were willing to put into large-scale colonization efforts than the Third Republic was later to manifest.
Cochin China may have remained just a good strategic holding, trade port, and convenient coaling station... once Bismarck had been shuffled off into retirement by Willy though, further expansion into the rest of Indochina may have been more likely...
 
IMO, the Germans would get kicked out by the locals easily, as having barely any sustainable way of keeping decent contact and supply with their newly acquired colony, and the French would just restart a colonisation of the region once the Germans out.
 
IMO, the Germans would get kicked out by the locals easily, as having barely any sustainable way of keeping decent contact and supply with their newly acquired colony, and the French would just restart a colonisation of the region once the Germans out.
how would France getting out of the war effectively with all their territory in tact effect their relations with Britain? would germany be more aggressive in the future due to feeling tricked?
 
how would France getting out of the war effectively with all their territory in tact effect their relations with Britain? would germany be more aggressive in the future due to feeling tricked?
Well, basically, under the IId Empire and IIId Republic, France and Britain aren't enemies, but they are clearly not willing to trust the other. Their main concern is getting all the colonial power to themselves, because neither of them want the Germans to gain colonies really (Britain because they're already loosing their supremacy in continental Europe to Germany, and France for, well, obvious reasons, also known as the Franco-Prussian war, that would still be lived as a bloody humiliation).
Now, I think the Brits would try to get their hands on French Indochina, but tbh, Cochinchina was fairly stable as a French colony, so at best the Brits might earn some sweet trade deals and tax-free ports or smthg, but I wouldn't see the French having too much trouble regaining Cochinchina. The real fights to regain land lost would actually be in Laos or Annam, because it's very mountainous, pure jungle and the Natives have far better knowledge of the terrain. Place likes Cochinchina, Cambodia or Tonkin are in valleys/very flat areas, and are therefore easier to take back than hellish jungle on mountains.
But obviously the temporary loss of Indochina would slow the French advance in Indochina.
Obviously the Germans would be very pissed, the southerners most of all, due to them being tricked into accepting Cochinchina, for it to be quickly gone. That might either sparkle a new crisis, on which the British would probably not support Germany, or it might sparkle German interest for cockblocking France in Indochina, either by trying to help the Nguyen dynasty fight off the Frenchies, either by trying to get Tonkin or Hainan for themselves.
Either way, two sides would emerge in east Asia: Germany vs France with often British support.
Now, I might be wrong, but I really don't see the Germans holding onto Indochina for long really, and the French were veeeery willing to keep Indochina, so if they give it away, you can be sure they'll try to get it back.
And about the relations with Britain if France keeps all of its metropolitan territory, they actually would improve (?), or at least the main late 19th century conflicts between the two would probably not appear. Basically, if France keeps Alsace-Lorraine, they don't feel that immense need to compensate their loss with new territory nor to cockblock the Germans in Africa too much, so, as an example, the Fachoda Incident could happen waaay more peacefully, with almost no French action , if it do happen at all. Tunisia, as an example, could end under British rule or Italian instead of French, due to France being not so eager to colonize. However, loosing Cochinchina would also lead them to try settling somewhere else in East Asia, so that would perhaps open the door to a bigger French presence in East Asia (Korea was still seen as an option in the 1870's, as were the Insulindies, Chinese coastlines or Siam).
That was a bit long, but the 19th century is a complicated period, and I probably forgot to take in account many other factors.
 
France engaged in the Tonkin Campaign party to make up for having failed to seize Tonkin in years prior. Germany might just be content with Cochinchina and the Cambodian Protectorate.
Although one of the casus belli's of France's 1882 Tonkin Campaign was the Black Flag army taxing/extorting European traders. Germany might end up doing what France did if the Nguyen dynasty allows the same thing as occurred OTL, although Germany probably would be less effective at it.

Maybe France just does what it did OTL and conquers North and Central Vietnam. Do they really need Cochinchina as a base of operations to do such a thing?

Germany might also just take the diplomatic route with the Nguyen Dynasty rather than reverting to war. They had (mostly) peaceable diplomatic relations with China and Korea OTL.

If there's no French control of Indochina, there might not be a third Anglo-Burmese War. Britain was less than pleased with the prospect of French influence over Upper Burma due to France having expanded to bordering Upper Burma.



What would be the best analogy?
 
I actually think there's a good chance they get kicked out by the Chinese-backed Black Flag army. The French had a lot of trouble dealing with them, and the Germans would have far less ability to supply operations against them with their far smaller navy.
Was the French navy used at all in the suppression of the Black Flags? Unless they have some sort of naval component or the Chinese are willing to overtly back them Germany having a smaller navy seems irrelevant – they would be able to ship in troops and materiel via chartered liners and freighters without hindrance.
 
Problem is, Germany had a use for Alsace-Lorraine, or at least thought so. They had no use whatsoever for Indochina. Germany at the time barely had a navy at all, and their entire strategic thinking was laser-focused on Europe. Also, the German perspective tended to think of A-L as, well, German lands, whose annexation made sense in national terms (though people in the lands in question had a wider array of views). It is easy to imagine Bismarck talking the German leadership out of the idea of taking A-L as counterproductive. I have an harder time seeing him going for Indochina as an alternative. He'd happily sell the place for, well, anything else deemed worthwhile: though the only such thing I can possibly think of is Luxembourg, and I doubt it'd be workable.
 
Bismarck would happily renounce to A-L in exchange for a peace in October or November.
Past that date, there is no way for France to avoid the loss of A-L, since it was the pound of flesh that Bismarck had to pay to the nationalists (and to the southern German States) to keep the money flowing.
The offer of Indochina would not have been considered at all, and Luxembourg was under the Powers' guarantee after the London treaty.
 
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