Post by Alex Milman
2nd French Republic survives. As in OTL Louis Napoleon is elected President in
1848 but died in 1850 from the kidney failure (or some other disease). The Bonapartists don't have a leader and after period of a constitutional
turmoil the Republic settled down (with whatever constitution).
1. Unification of Italy - in 1849 the French troops led by Oudinot marched to
Rome to support the Pope. But if Louis Napoleon died in 1850, what would be
further French involvement (if any) in Italy? Would the prestige factor be
as important for the Republic as it was for the 2nd Empire? In other words,
would 2nd Republic go to war with Austria for the Italian cause?
2. Crimean War - not sure if the French Republic would have an incentive to
join such an exercise. Napoleon III needed a military glory to strengthen his
regime and was personally slighted by Nicholas I who refused to grant him an
appropriate addressing. Colonialist aspect of the issue (French influence in
Levant) may not be compelling enough for a republican government.
3. Unification of Germany - Would French Republic be considered by Bismarck
as a major obstacle to the final unification of Germany? Actually, would/could
it be such an obstacle and could the Franco-German War of 1870/1 be avoided
(peaceful unification of Germany)?
When you talk about someone named in our time line
'Napoleon III' dying in 1850 and then start talking
about German Unification this is going to have very
severe effects because you are talking about 20 years
When you talk about this situation I think it is more
than feasible that it is going to have very, very,
very severe effects.
For instance, in this time line not the second Schleswig War
which happened over a decade later but the first Schleswig War
was still going on. No London Protocol of 1852 had yet been
signed so the grounds for the second war had not come into
If you consider what was actually going on at the time it is
entirely feasible that the French Republic could consider
the war to be a war of independence against the Danish monarchy
in favor of the German Confederation. A French Republic might
consider the German Confederation to be more legitimate than
either the kings of Prussia, Austria, or Denmark, and a partial
form of independence. In theory this could be considered an
alliance with Prussia but in the long term the Republic of France
could then strengthen the Confederation itself and reduce either
Prussia or Austria to meddle in its affairs without another
very major player in the organization of the Confederation itself.
If France changes sides this could degenerate into a war between
Republican France and the U.K.
Then it is difficult to say what might happen next. A U.K. victory
could mean that if Ernest Augustus of Hanover dies at about the same
time then the Hanoverians might consider our time line's blind
king George V of Hanover to be inadequate to act as monarch and
the net result of the war could be an Act of Union between the former
United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Hanover in the U.K. parliament
under Victoria as well as in Hanover.
However a French victory could make it impossible for Prussia
to meddle in Confederation affairs in the same way as in our
time line. A French Republic might consider the Prussian king
to be an illegitimate monarch specifically because he was a
monarch, like many of the other petty princes of Germany.
If we are now talking about the middle 1850s our time line's
Austro-Prussian war is still about a decade into the future
in an alternate time line where major changes have occurred.
In our time line France did not intervene on the side of
Austria specifically because of a deal made with a Napoleon III
who in this time line was neither called Napoleon III and had
died over a decade earlier.
It is very difficult to predict whether something like the
Austro-Prussian war could still happen at about the same
time or not or if something like a Franco-Prussian war could
happen even later.
These are contemplations about the later 1860s,
but if we talk about the early 1860s, there is
still the possiblity of either France or the U.K.
entering the U.S. Civil War if it still happens at
about the same time under similar circumstances, on
either side, degenerating into a world war much
like the Seven Years War, with as far reaching
Post by Alex Milman
3.a. As a side question, could the Republic come with a more efficient military
model than Napoleon III? He was favoring a professional army (presumably,
loyal to him and to the glory of the Empire) but would not the universal
mobilization be more logical for the Republic?
[Funny enough, in his (rather idiotic) articles on the possible European wars
(written before the 1851's coup) Fritz Engels was writing that of course in the
case of such a war the republican government would go back to the experience of
the French Revolution by declaring an universal mobilization, which would be a
recipe for losing a war (well, few years later this "genius" explained in some
details how foolish is Moltke's plan and how Prussia is going to lose to Austria; he also expressed an opinion in mid-XIX that no further serious
progress in military technology is possible, etc.).]
4. Depending on #3: If there is no war of 1870, can WWI be avoided?
Like earlier, 1870 is a long time from 1850, and
a lot of differences could add up by then.
Reviewing this before posting, it seems feasible that the name
'Napoleon III' might have been used before he became emperor
but it is difficult to say how much of an official name that was.
It is also feasible that there might not have been much difference
in the First Schleswig War but there were also a lot of other
phenomena that went on between then and 1870.