Discussion:
WI: Napoleon wins at Waterloo
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jerry kraus
2017-08-10 15:35:15 UTC
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Since Waterloo is being described as the most overhyped battle in history on another thread, I thought this might be worth exploring again. Presumably, Napoleon has some difficulties facing off against the oncoming Austrians and Russians, outnumbered six to one. I would assume that he loses. Does his victory at Waterloo change anything, at all?
The Horny Goat
2017-08-10 16:37:06 UTC
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On Thu, 10 Aug 2017 08:35:15 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by jerry kraus
Since Waterloo is being described as the most overhyped battle in history on another thread, I thought this might be worth exploring again. Presumably, Napoleon has some difficulties facing off against the oncoming Austrians and Russians, outnumbered six to one. I would assume that he loses. Does his victory at Waterloo change anything, at all?
Jerry raises an interesting question.

Suppose Napoleon HAD won a crushing victory at Waterloo and been
crushed in turn. How would that affect the peace settlement? Clearly
he wouldn't have died on St Helena but somewhere else and clearly the
British and Prussian positions probably wouldn't have carried as much
force at the * Congress of Vienna (which if Napoleon had lost to the
Austrians would undoubtedly still have been held at Vienna).

Would the peace be significantly different in this scenario?

(There's clearly going to BE a peace, the question is on what terms?)
Pete Barrett
2017-08-10 16:49:08 UTC
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Post by jerry kraus
Since Waterloo is being described as the most overhyped battle in
history on another thread, I thought this might be worth exploring
again. Presumably, Napoleon has some difficulties facing off against
the oncoming Austrians and Russians, outnumbered six to one. I would
assume that he loses. Does his victory at Waterloo change anything, at
all?
Probably only in British history - no Waterloo Station (would have a
different name, as would all the other things named after Waterloo,
including that song by Abba, so a bit in Swedish history as well).

More importantly, Wellington might not have become Prime Minister, or
even a major Tory politician. I say _might_ not, because his political
position was quite solid at the time, so it might have survived a defeat.
But if not, then someone else would have been PM for the 2 years his
government survived. That government passed the Catholic Emancipation
Act, so that might have been delayed for a year or so. Otherwise, it's
difficult to say; the Whigs would be back in power in 1830, in any case.
The Horny Goat
2017-08-10 17:35:48 UTC
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On Thu, 10 Aug 2017 16:49:08 +0000 (UTC), Pete Barrett
Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
Since Waterloo is being described as the most overhyped battle in
history on another thread, I thought this might be worth exploring
again. Presumably, Napoleon has some difficulties facing off against
the oncoming Austrians and Russians, outnumbered six to one. I would
assume that he loses. Does his victory at Waterloo change anything, at
all?
Probably only in British history - no Waterloo Station (would have a
different name, as would all the other things named after Waterloo,
including that song by Abba, so a bit in Swedish history as well).
More importantly, Wellington might not have become Prime Minister, or
even a major Tory politician. I say _might_ not, because his political
position was quite solid at the time, so it might have survived a defeat.
But if not, then someone else would have been PM for the 2 years his
government survived. That government passed the Catholic Emancipation
Act, so that might have been delayed for a year or so. Otherwise, it's
difficult to say; the Whigs would be back in power in 1830, in any case.
I can't disagree with anything you said at all though I was primarily
thinking of how the *Alt-Congress of Vienna might have played out
differently. Presumably Austria and Russia would want a larger pound
of flesh though I'm not sure what that might be.

I strongly suspect Alexander would have wanted a different heir to the
Swedish throne than Bernadotte - beyond that I'm not sure.
jerry kraus
2017-08-10 18:16:36 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Thu, 10 Aug 2017 16:49:08 +0000 (UTC), Pete Barrett
Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
Since Waterloo is being described as the most overhyped battle in
history on another thread, I thought this might be worth exploring
again. Presumably, Napoleon has some difficulties facing off against
the oncoming Austrians and Russians, outnumbered six to one. I would
assume that he loses. Does his victory at Waterloo change anything, at
all?
Probably only in British history - no Waterloo Station (would have a
different name, as would all the other things named after Waterloo,
including that song by Abba, so a bit in Swedish history as well).
More importantly, Wellington might not have become Prime Minister, or
even a major Tory politician. I say _might_ not, because his political
position was quite solid at the time, so it might have survived a defeat.
But if not, then someone else would have been PM for the 2 years his
government survived. That government passed the Catholic Emancipation
Act, so that might have been delayed for a year or so. Otherwise, it's
difficult to say; the Whigs would be back in power in 1830, in any case.
I can't disagree with anything you said at all though I was primarily
thinking of how the *Alt-Congress of Vienna might have played out
differently. Presumably Austria and Russia would want a larger pound
of flesh though I'm not sure what that might be.
I strongly suspect Alexander would have wanted a different heir to the
Swedish throne than Bernadotte - beyond that I'm not sure.
I think it's interesting to compare and contrast the attitude of Alexander and Napoleon here. Napoleon wanted to take over the world, but, he really didn't have the means to do so. In contrast, Alexander probably did have the means to take over the world by the end of Napoleonic Wars, but, he didn't particularly want to. Why is this, exactly? Something about Russian psychology?
Alex Milman
2017-08-10 20:36:34 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Thu, 10 Aug 2017 16:49:08 +0000 (UTC), Pete Barrett
Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
Since Waterloo is being described as the most overhyped battle in
history on another thread, I thought this might be worth exploring
again. Presumably, Napoleon has some difficulties facing off against
the oncoming Austrians and Russians, outnumbered six to one. I would
assume that he loses. Does his victory at Waterloo change anything, at
all?
Probably only in British history - no Waterloo Station (would have a
different name, as would all the other things named after Waterloo,
including that song by Abba, so a bit in Swedish history as well).
More importantly, Wellington might not have become Prime Minister, or
even a major Tory politician. I say _might_ not, because his political
position was quite solid at the time, so it might have survived a defeat.
But if not, then someone else would have been PM for the 2 years his
government survived. That government passed the Catholic Emancipation
Act, so that might have been delayed for a year or so. Otherwise, it's
difficult to say; the Whigs would be back in power in 1830, in any case.
I can't disagree with anything you said at all though I was primarily
thinking of how the *Alt-Congress of Vienna might have played out
differently. Presumably Austria and Russia would want a larger pound
of flesh though I'm not sure what that might be.
Actually, at Vienna it was Russia and Prussia vs Britain, Austria and
(Bourbon) France with the biggest crisis being "Polish-Saxon": Prussia
wanted all Saxony and Russia claiming most of Poland while Austria being
against both claims, Britain supporting Austria to maintain "a balance of
power" and France supporting them. A & B & F agreed to going to war against
R & P and Alexander gave up, which was a complete stupidity. Anybody with a
lesser disdain for his own people would easily figure out that R & P were
a winning combination in this specific context. Austria would be destroyed
before anybody would be able to help it: an idea that the leftovers of the
Napoleonic troops will be eager to go to a new war just because the Bourbons
said so is optimistic, to put it mildly, and the Brits did not really have an
army big enough to matter (not to mention that they'd have to march for quite
a while before reaching Prussia and Russia).
Post by The Horny Goat
I strongly suspect Alexander would have wanted a different heir to the
Swedish throne than Bernadotte - beyond that I'm not sure.
Errrrrrr...... approximately 1 minute of Wiki search would tell you that
Alexander was SUPPORTING Bernadotte: in early 1812 they met at Abo to a
complete mutual satisfaction and B's love affair with the Russian emperors
continued during the reign of Nicholas I. :-)
The Horny Goat
2017-08-10 23:41:36 UTC
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On Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:36:34 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
I strongly suspect Alexander would have wanted a different heir to the
Swedish throne than Bernadotte - beyond that I'm not sure.
Errrrrrr...... approximately 1 minute of Wiki search would tell you that
Alexander was SUPPORTING Bernadotte: in early 1812 they met at Abo to a
complete mutual satisfaction and B's love affair with the Russian emperors
continued during the reign of Nicholas I. :-)
I'm pretty sure I knew that. Even if you DIDN'T it would be pretty
obvious that a French marshal would never be offered the Swedish
throne if either Austria or Russia were agin' it.

We're talking about an ATL where Wellington is crushed at Waterloo (or
possibly earlier at Quatre Bras which at least saves Prussian "face"
and then is crushed by a primarily Russian force with Austrian
assistance.

Would Russian support for Bernadotte still continue particularly if
Bernadotte had said or done something indiscreet shortly ater Napoleon
was victorious at Waterloo? Or even if he had done something so minor
as to fail to drink deeply enough when a toast to Alexander "victor
over Napoleon" was made in Vienna.

(I'm thinking of the fate of Ney who was shot almost entirely for his
1815 actions and not at all related to anything he did 1814 and
before)

I'm assuming the Congress of Vienna would remain in Vienna in this
scenario since it started in 1814 long before the 1815 campaign and
was about 80-90% completed before the 100 days.
Alex Milman
2017-08-11 13:37:57 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:36:34 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
I strongly suspect Alexander would have wanted a different heir to the
Swedish throne than Bernadotte - beyond that I'm not sure.
Errrrrrr...... approximately 1 minute of Wiki search would tell you that
Alexander was SUPPORTING Bernadotte: in early 1812 they met at Abo to a
complete mutual satisfaction and B's love affair with the Russian emperors
continued during the reign of Nicholas I. :-)
I'm pretty sure I knew that. Even if you DIDN'T it would be pretty
obvious that a French marshal would never be offered the Swedish
throne if either Austria or Russia were agin' it.
Actually, he was offered a crown (or rather position of a heir) because it
was expected that Nappy is supporting him (as a marshal and a family member).
At that point position of Russia was not too important (Nappy's ally) and
of Austria simply irrelevant. His clear break with Nappy and alignment with
Alexander came later when he figured out that Continental System is disastrous
for Sweden.
Post by The Horny Goat
We're talking about an ATL where Wellington is crushed at Waterloo (or
possibly earlier at Quatre Bras which at least saves Prussian "face"
and then is crushed by a primarily Russian force with Austrian
assistance.
Would Russian support for Bernadotte still continue particularly if
Bernadotte had said or done something indiscreet shortly ater Napoleon
was victorious at Waterloo?
To start with the premise, by that time he was an open enemy to Nappy (even
if his wife was enjoying a good time in Paris) and there could be no reconciliation. OTOH, Alexander was his main supporter (including him getting
Norway as a compensation for the loss of Finland) and, with a complete
understanding between two of them, why would any of them break a mutually
profitable arrangement?
Post by The Horny Goat
Or even if he had done something so minor
as to fail to drink deeply enough when a toast to Alexander "victor
over Napoleon" was made in Vienna.
Please, none of them was a complete idiot (BTW, I don't think that Bernadotte
was present in Vienna).
Post by The Horny Goat
(I'm thinking of the fate of Ney who was shot almost entirely for his
1815 actions and not at all related to anything he did 1814 and
before)
Ney sworn loyalty to the Bourbons and was considered a traitor (not sure
what were the accusations against Murat). Heir to the throne of Sweden did not
swear loyalty to any 3rd party and did not participate in 100 Days
Campaign. Actually, he did not even fight campaign of 1814 to the end, leaving
for his own Norway campaign (which was seemingly OK by Alexander).
Post by The Horny Goat
I'm assuming the Congress of Vienna would remain in Vienna in this
scenario since it started in 1814 long before the 1815 campaign and
was about 80-90% completed before the 100 days.
The Horny Goat
2017-08-11 17:02:45 UTC
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On Fri, 11 Aug 2017 06:37:57 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
I'm pretty sure I knew that. Even if you DIDN'T it would be pretty
obvious that a French marshal would never be offered the Swedish
throne if either Austria or Russia were agin' it.
Actually, he was offered a crown (or rather position of a heir) because it
was expected that Nappy is supporting him (as a marshal and a family member).
At that point position of Russia was not too important (Nappy's ally) and
of Austria simply irrelevant. His clear break with Nappy and alignment with
Alexander came later when he figured out that Continental System is disastrous
for Sweden.
There's no question Bernadotte deftly changed sides after 1812. I
would question whether Napoleon was that surprised given the change in
circumstances though I'm sure he raged.
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
(I'm thinking of the fate of Ney who was shot almost entirely for his
1815 actions and not at all related to anything he did 1814 and
before)
Ney sworn loyalty to the Bourbons and was considered a traitor (not sure
what were the accusations against Murat). Heir to the throne of Sweden did not
swear loyalty to any 3rd party and did not participate in 100 Days
Campaign. Actually, he did not even fight campaign of 1814 to the end, leaving
for his own Norway campaign (which was seemingly OK by Alexander).
Given the Norway for Finland deal I can't see why Alexander would be
upset. As for 'complete idiocy' there are several cases of extreme
hubris during 1789-1815 one could cite.
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
I'm assuming the Congress of Vienna would remain in Vienna in this
scenario since it started in 1814 long before the 1815 campaign and
was about 80-90% completed before the 100 days.
Alex Milman
2017-08-12 14:58:56 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Fri, 11 Aug 2017 06:37:57 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
I'm pretty sure I knew that. Even if you DIDN'T it would be pretty
obvious that a French marshal would never be offered the Swedish
throne if either Austria or Russia were agin' it.
Actually, he was offered a crown (or rather position of a heir) because it
was expected that Nappy is supporting him (as a marshal and a family member).
At that point position of Russia was not too important (Nappy's ally) and
of Austria simply irrelevant. His clear break with Nappy and alignment with
Alexander came later when he figured out that Continental System is disastrous
for Sweden.
There's no question Bernadotte deftly changed sides after 1812.
As you put it, it sounds as if he changed sides AFTER Napoleon's defeat in
the Russian campaign. In a reality he made an alliance with Alexander BEFORE
that campaign started and never truly was on Nappy's "side" at all: Sweden
was breaking the Continental System just as Russia did. Of course, Nappy
contributed on a personal level by refusing to communicate with him as a
crown prince ("his Majesty exchanges letters only with the ruling monarchs...",
etc.) but it is not like those too had excessive fondness to each other.
Post by The Horny Goat
I
would question whether Napoleon was that surprised given the change in
circumstances though I'm sure he raged.
Nappy was rather easily surprised when the people did not behave as he
expected but I have no idea what "change of the circumstances" are you
talking about. IIRC, in 1812 he ordered to occupy Swedish Pomerania before
attack on Russia.
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
(I'm thinking of the fate of Ney who was shot almost entirely for his
1815 actions and not at all related to anything he did 1814 and
before)
Ney sworn loyalty to the Bourbons and was considered a traitor (not sure
what were the accusations against Murat). Heir to the throne of Sweden did not
swear loyalty to any 3rd party and did not participate in 100 Days
Campaign. Actually, he did not even fight campaign of 1814 to the end, leaving
for his own Norway campaign (which was seemingly OK by Alexander).
Given the Norway for Finland deal I can't see why Alexander would be
upset.
Well, Finland became Russian before Bernadotte was elected heir to the Swedish
throne so there was no tit-for-tat deal. Norway "deal" was a later thing
intended to improve B's reputation in Sweden, which was OK with Alexander
(and other allies because Denmark was Napoleon's ally).

As for Alexander's personal attitude, Bernadotte was the 1st (ever) foreigner
awarded St. George of the 1st class (Blucher and Schwarzenberg got it later
the same year and Wellington after Waterloo).
The Horny Goat
2017-08-12 16:05:33 UTC
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On Sat, 12 Aug 2017 07:58:56 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
There's no question Bernadotte deftly changed sides after 1812.
As you put it, it sounds as if he changed sides AFTER Napoleon's defeat in
the Russian campaign. In a reality he made an alliance with Alexander BEFORE
that campaign started and never truly was on Nappy's "side" at all: Sweden
was breaking the Continental System just as Russia did. Of course, Nappy
contributed on a personal level by refusing to communicate with him as a
crown prince ("his Majesty exchanges letters only with the ruling monarchs...",
etc.) but it is not like those too had excessive fondness to each other.
I agree I tended to give that impression.

Changing sides was pretty much a requirement to get the position of
Swedish crown prince in the first place.

Having Napoleon's full confidence was obviously a prerequisite to
becoming a Marshal of France so Bernadotte obviously had it at one
point. Obviously that changed later and probably well before he took
the Swedish offer. Warm relations were not required else Ney and a
couple others would have been the only marshals.

All I was saying about Alexander in this context was that if either
the crowns of Austria or Russia strongly opposed the offer from Sweden
it would not of been made. Clearly Sweden had a succession problem and
the powers recognized something needed to be done. They chose what
they thought was a superior alternative and I'd say history has proven
them right.
Alex Milman
2017-08-12 21:18:12 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Sat, 12 Aug 2017 07:58:56 -0700 (PDT), Alex Milman
Post by Alex Milman
Post by The Horny Goat
There's no question Bernadotte deftly changed sides after 1812.
As you put it, it sounds as if he changed sides AFTER Napoleon's defeat in
the Russian campaign. In a reality he made an alliance with Alexander BEFORE
that campaign started and never truly was on Nappy's "side" at all: Sweden
was breaking the Continental System just as Russia did. Of course, Nappy
contributed on a personal level by refusing to communicate with him as a
crown prince ("his Majesty exchanges letters only with the ruling monarchs...",
etc.) but it is not like those too had excessive fondness to each other.
I agree I tended to give that impression.
Changing sides was pretty much a requirement to get the position of
Swedish crown prince in the first place.
Wrong again. Bernadotte was selected, among other reasons, because it was
believed that Napoleon is going to be pleased with this choice (Marshal of
France and a member of the family) and Nappy, indeed, gave his agreement.

There were no "sides" to change. Everybody, except Britain were Napoleon's
allies and soon after B's arrival Sweden declared war on Britain and joined
Continental System (reluctantly, to be sure).

Situation changed only when in January 1812, French troops suddenly invaded Swedish Pomerania and the island of Rugen (Nappy even took care to schedule
this action for B's birthday to make it more insulting). Even pro-French
faction at the Swedish court was insulted and in a changed political climate
Bernadotte opened negotiations with Russia (which was still formally N's
ally but was speedily arming) and Britain.
Post by The Horny Goat
Having Napoleon's full confidence was obviously a prerequisite to
becoming a Marshal of France so Bernadotte obviously had it at one
point.
It seems that B never had Nappy's "full confidence" (especially after he
refused to join coup d'état of November 1799) but Napoleon hardly could
afford to lose his services. Unlike all other N's marshals, B was the only
one who made an impressive career of his own (Ambassador to Vienna and Minister
of War) and he was quite popular among the "republican' militaries (of course,
Massena was an army commander in the army of Republic but he was a strictly
military animal). Plus, he was the only one who was a very good administrator:
almost immediately after being made a marshal he was appointed a governor of
Hannover and proved to be very impressive in this capacity. While not neglecting
his own interests (which was expected by both sides), he administered territory
in a way that left locals quite happy.
Post by The Horny Goat
Obviously that changed later and probably well before he took
the Swedish offer. Warm relations were not required else Ney and a
couple others would have been the only marshals.
All I was saying about Alexander in this context was that if either
the crowns of Austria or Russia strongly opposed the offer from Sweden
it would not of been made.
At the time Bernadotte got an offer Austrian opinion did not matter at all
and Alexander's opinion was not too important either. Actually, one of the
reasons why B was chosen had been an expectation of a new war with Russia
to get Finland back and a famous French marshal who was also close to
Napoleon (as Swedes expected based on family relation) was just a person
for the task. B was too intelligent to go that way but it was found AFTER
the offer was made and accepted and AFTER he became personally popular in
Sweden.
Post by The Horny Goat
Clearly Sweden had a succession problem and
the powers recognized something needed to be done. They chose what
they thought was a superior alternative and I'd say history has proven
them right.
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