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  • No German Reunification?

    Bismark is run over by a horse team in 1840. Without his skill the German reunification effort falls short. Other European powers with interests, imagined or real, in keeping Germany divided and Prussian leadership frustrated succeed though the 19th Century. The 1890s pass with only slight progress towards a larger German state.

    Aside from the Buonapate family remianing as rulers of France for some time what other ways are European history likely to diverge? Without a 'Germany' would Russia or France remain as the principle threat to Britain?

  • #2
    France would definitely be the main rival to Britain. As the Industrial Revolution picked up steam in the mid and late 1800's, France would have done whatever it could to control the coal and other resources of the Ruhr. Britain would have allied itself with the low countries, Denmark, and any of the small German principalities it could have. Britain would have contested France in areas of its empire where it felt France was vulnerable. This would probably switch back and forth between Africa and Indo-China.

    France would be forced to try to build up its Navy, but it would be harder to do this than it was for Germany, because they would not have a huge safe harborage like the Baltic available to them.

    With Germany not unified, Austria-Hungary continues on as before, not industrializing very quickly. They would have a rough alliance with Bavaria.
    Italy would probably not have unified, so Austria-Hungary had substantial land pickups in Northeastern Italy and would come into conflict with France for control of Northern Italy. Britain and Austria-Hungary would be drawn together as natural allies.


    I think that would have eventually happened is that Britain and France would have fought multiple "small wars" around the world and they would eventually come to terms. Their would be a Protestant Northern Germany centered on Prussia and a Catholic Southern Germany centered on Austria.

    Russia would continue to slowly grow, and the Central European powers and Britain would fear it. France and Russia would develop as natural allies, so that there would an armed buildup of France and Russia vs. the North Germans, Austria-Hungary, and Britain. The main conflict area would be the Balkans.

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    • #3
      I see Poland remaining split into three pieces.

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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      • #4
        I tend to have some disagreements above. Given that Austria-Hungary would probably retain its No. 2 "sick man of Europe" rating (the Ottoman Empire obviously No. 1), I'd think there would still be a united Italy with Austria pretty much driven out of ethnic Italian areas, in more or less the same time.

        It's true that the rapproachmont (sp.?) of Britain and France came very late, and that France and Russia are natural allies, but if Europe was fairly stable with French/Russian continental dominance, might not Russia, assuming a loss to Japan as it suffered, look to revenge such an embarassment, with perhaps a British/Japanese alliance in the Pacific against Russian encroachment (especially since this would be a variant of British efforts to "contain" Russia as in the "Great Game" on the Indian border and Afghanistan).

        But German industrialism, and the 19th Century ideology of nationalism (see Hans Kohn's The Idea of Nationalism ) would probably have spurred some sort of, as suggested above, North German union, with a looser south German/Austrian association, neither of which would be inconsequential politically or economically.

        A big question is how Serb hyper-nationalism would play into changed geopolitics of Europe.

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        • #5
          I supose one undefinable variable would be the duration of the Bonaparte family. Napoleon III was a somewhat erratic in forigen policy, and I'm told a bit full of himself. Undisturbed by a Franco Prussian was that Bismarck would not instigate Napoleon would be free to keep Europes international politics in ferment through the 1870s. What happens after he departs this mortal vale I've not a clue. would the French accept yet another Bonaparte? And, what sort man was Napoleon III heir?

          Tuor wrote: "North German union, with a looser south German/Austrian association, neither of which would be inconsequential politically or economically."

          Austria might seek to enhance its power through association with the Central/South German states. Without a Empire to the north political expansion into friendly German speaking areas might be preferable to obnoxious Slavs to the south.

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          • #6
            Two things to remember:

            Its been British policy that no one power bloc should dominate continental Europe since the late 1600's.

            The British Royal Family are Germans and troops from many of the German states fought in the British army against Napoleon. Even in the late 1800's Britain didn't trust France not to invade and we spent millions on elaborate coastal forts (usefull in 1940 at least). Britain isn't going to sit back and let France take over central europe.

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            • #7
              Peter Sym:
              Are you referring to Palmerston's Follies? Would a 19th Century fort have been much use as defense against the luftwaffe and Wehrmacht. For that matter, do you know if they were ever attacked in 1940?
              Btw, here's one view of them from The Royal Navy Museum:
              The forts were designed by Captain E H Steward, who was part of the staff of the Assistant Inspector General of Fortifications, Colonel W F D Jervois. The ironwork and shields were designed separately by Captain Inglis and Lieutenant English. The noted civil engineer, Sir John Hawkshaw advised on the provision of foundations. Spitbank Fort was completed in June 1878, and St Helen's shortly after. The two outer forts, Horse Sand and No Mans Land, although started earlier, were completed in the spring of 1880. Horse Sands and No Mans Land are identical, being 200 ft in diameter and fully armour plated; the other two are only 150 ft diameter and iron plating on the front only.

              The cost of building the forts was: (totals exclude armaments)

              Horse Sand Fort - 424,694
              No Mans Land Fort - 462,500
              Spitbank Fort - 167,300
              St Helen's Fort - 123, 311

              By the time the forts had been completed, the "invasion" scare had long since passed and although the forts were armed and re-armed as technology advanced, they were never needed in the capacity in which they had been planned for. Even though they were armed during the First World War, two were used as naval signal stations and a line of concrete blocks and piles protected the coast and harbour from enemy attack. After suffering years of neglect, there was not a great role for the forts during the Second World War either. They were not able to support heavy anti-aircraft guns for general air defence. However, they were brought to war-readiness for the seizure of French warships anchored off Portsmouth in 1940, after the fall of France. This was the only time that their armament was trained on the targets for which they had been originally built. The seizure was completed with little opposition and actual firing from the guns on the forts was not necessary.

              The forts were de-activated after the war and used for coastal artillery until 1956. In the 1960s, they were put up for sale - but not sold until the 1980s. Spitbank Fort was bought by a private buyer in 1982, restored and opened to the public. No Mans Land Fort was bought by a property company with plans to convert it to a luxury home, complete with private heli-pad. It is believed that St Helen's Fort was sold, but no information on the purpose or by whom is available. Horse Sand Fort was taken off the market and retained by the Ministry of Defence.
              And wouldn't the U.S. presence in Europe after 1945, from the British view,
              then be an analog to Austria and Prussia against Napoleon?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                And wouldn't the U.S. presence in Europe after 1945, from the British view, then be an analog to Austria and Prussia against Napoleon?
                How so? You seem to suppose that both World Wars take place without German unification. That is quite a stretch!

                Regards,
                Dennis
                If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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                • #9
                  I'd think some sort of general war or wars would occur by the mid 20th Century. Guessing how that might fall out runs afoul of too many variables to count. I suspect a Balkans war/s of some sort are inevitable as the Ottoman empire crumbles and the local politics are 'debated'. A Russo Japanese war seems inevitable as well, ditto for the Sino Japanese war of the 1890s. But how thinkings develop in Europe without a German empire is beyond me.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                    I'd think some sort of general war or wars would occur by the mid 20th Century. Guessing how that might fall out runs afoul of too many variables to count. I suspect a Balkans war/s of some sort are inevitable as the Ottoman empire crumbles and the local politics are 'debated'. A Russo Japanese war seems inevitable as well, ditto for the Sino Japanese war of the 1890s. But how thinkings develop in Europe without a German empire is beyond me.
                    Beyond me too, but it is still a stretch to assume the American presence in Europe as stated. Doing so seems to suppose there IS a united Germany.

                    Regards,
                    Dennis
                    If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                    Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The US had been involved on the fringe of European affairs, so it is not impossible to become entangled deeper. Any widespread European war has the possiblity of that happening. Although considering US history I'd place the likelyhood of that in the 20th Century vs the 19th.

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                      • #12
                        it does occur to me that without the war of 1871, the dominance of Prussia in German politics, and 'Prussian militarism, my great grand father might not have emigrated. I'd not exist!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          Bismark is run over by a horse team in 1840. Without his skill the German reunification effort falls short. Other European powers with interests, imagined or real, in keeping Germany divided and Prussian leadership frustrated succeed though the 19th Century. The 1890s pass with only slight progress towards a larger German state.

                          Aside from the Buonapate family remianing as rulers of France for some time what other ways are European history likely to diverge? Without a 'Germany' would Russia or France remain as the principle threat to Britain?
                          Bismark took no part whatsoever in German reunification. He died 92 years before it occured.



                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_reunification
                          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                          • #14
                            As usual Wiki falls flat on its face. It does not account for the earlier holy Roman Empire which collected the bulk of the German speaking peoples in a single political entity

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                              Peter Sym:
                              Are you referring to Palmerston's Follies? Would a 19th Century fort have been much use as defense against the luftwaffe and Wehrmacht. For that matter, do you know if they were ever attacked in 1940?
                              Btw, here's one view of them from The Royal Navy Museum:


                              And wouldn't the U.S. presence in Europe after 1945, from the British view,
                              then be an analog to Austria and Prussia against Napoleon?
                              Thats right: obviously they weren't firing cannon in 1940 but they made great AA platforms. Guarding the approach to our major ports, nice clear field of fire, deep magazines... perfect! We built more in the Thames estuary and other places

                              The castles at St Mawes and Falmouth in Cornwall engaged E-boats coming up the Carrick Roads several times and they were built by Henry VIII to stop the Spanish. Tynemouth castle was early Norman originally and engaged at least one U-boat. Both Falmouth and Tynemouth had everything from 40mm AA right up to 14" naval guns. The guns on Inchgarvie (Firth of Forth) frequently fired on German bombers attacking Rosyth dockyard:
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inchgarvie
                              Thats been a fort for 600 years.


                              In response to your other question: in 1945 Britain couldn't do much about anyone being in Europe although one nation STILL didn't dominate. Not with the USSR being a counterforce.

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