Legacy of Metternich
Table of Contents
Chapter I (1838-1843)
Chapter II (1843-1844)
Chapter III (1844-1850)
Chapter IV (1850-1862)
Chapter V (1863)
Chapter VI (1863-1867)
Intermission, part I (1870)
Intermission, part II (1870)
Chapter VII (1870)
Chapter VIII (1870-1872)
Chapter IX (1873-1883)
Chapter X (1884-1888)
Chapter XI (1888)
Chapter XII (1889)
Chapter XIII (1889-1893)
Chapter XIV (1894-1897)
Chapter XV (1897-1899)
Chapter XVI (1900-1902)
Chapter XVII (1902-1903)
We'll enter the story in 1836, with Klemens von Metternich having already reached age of 62, and still gathering more and more influence in matters of Austria and Europe in general. Yet despite being chancellor of Empire for Francis I of Austria, by the grace of God elected Roman Emperor, always August, hereditary Emperor of Austria, Metternich was still mostly involved in foreign matters while Francis I largely ran the internal affairs of Austria himself. Even now, 20 years after Congress of Vienna, Metternich was stubbornly seeking to maintain balance of power in Europe. With France as volatile as ever, even if last actual revolution was 6 years ago, and discussions of german unification gaining strenght Prussia might also be major threath to stability, should they seek such progress for their own benefit. Thus plethora of defensive alliances were signed in early 1836 with minor states of Germany, Italy and even Belgium to prevent it from joining with the French, better independent as clearly United Kingdom of Netherlands was unable to unify their country again...
Meanwhile, Francis I had been busy burying Austria in debt with his 'state industrialization plan' which included building at least one of these modern style manufactories in each of Austria's states.
The loans were rather short term, as policy of 'take everything for taxes' remained even if tax collectors had directions not to look too carefully so that what people managed to hide they could keep.
With nationalist winds blowing in Europe, Austria was in uncofortable position for it's population was very diverse. Indeed, a germanification program was agreed upon, seeing how this could turn against the state just as easily it didn't try to really force anyone to change and maintained that everyone should have decent living conditions. However, higher education would only be available in German and any agitators would be silently taken care of, while letting mass movements largely alone and leaving local police to deal with them. Unless, of course, things got badly out of hand.
Marjority of Austrians were employed in simple resource gathering so there might have been a point to the emperors industrialization drive.
Rest of 1936 was rather uneventful excluding failure of our botanical expedition...
...and a gold rush to Karlovac.
In January of 1837 however, a flaw in the policy of agreeing do defend 'every' small state became apparent, as William III of Netherlands finally found some guts and tried to retake Belgium. The defensive pact that had been signed of course never specifically said it was against the French, as Austria was not overtly hostile towards France, indeed, only Austro-French arguments were limited to courts of Piedmont, Baden and Switzerland. Thus we were now trapped to defend the Belgians against a conquest we had hoped would happen, but our prestige would not allow us to not defend Belgium. Luckily, we would not be alone in this as British were also willing to fight for Belgians.
Passage for a few Austrian armies was then negotiated.
In February, Metternich sought to secure rest of our borders while stuck in an ill prepared war in the Lowlands. Alliance with France was signed and Austria agreed to leave Sardinia-Piedmont to French influences.
Prussian reaction to our war was mild, yet they did not appriciate our efforts to steal away the Saxons from their sphere.
In April Austrian Armies finally arrived in Netherlands, to find the situation rather weird, a both countries own armies had crossed borders and were busy looting and pillaging but largely ignored each other, this looked rather promising and our troops agreed this was fine way to conduct a war.
Having received a word of our arrival, the Dutch did however, decide to seek decisive battle with the Belgians in Maastricht. As it became apparent they were likely to win, I. Armee joined the battle, if rather late.
In the end we managed to save remains of the Belgian army and drive the army of Elias Lucas away.
After assesing the situation, von Clam-Gallas chose to chase after the Dutch, engaging them again in Eindhoven, this battle, thou nominal Austrian victory, resulted in such heavy casualties that it was impossible for I. Armee to continue chasing Lucas, allowing him to recover a bit.
Instead III. Armee, having occupied Leeuwarden and Zwolle, took over chasing the Dutch, and with Lorenz Wittmann pushing the first half fast to battle, the second half arrived rather late. You may also note, that a Russian Army has arrived Maastricht, they did not, however, intervene on behalf of Netherlands, this is simple opportunism from them. Austria, sharing rather long border with Russia and being far from prepared for such a large scale war, choose to stay out of this conflict, leaving it to the British and Belgians, indeed, Austria would largely be in charge the Netherlands portion of war with Belgians securing Belgium and British blockading Russia.
This lead to another Pyrhic victory for Austria, indeed, when news of this reached Vienna another armee was sent towards the Lowlands. Elias Lucas was also gaining quite a fame with his succesful attrition tactics, even while he was always forced to withdraw.
Von Clam-Gallas had arrived from Eindhoven, leaving I. Armee for subordinate, to take over the more intact part of III. Armee and continued chasing Lucas to Rotterdam.
This time, Lucas was forced to withdraw towards Breda, but alas, with such losses to III. Armee, it was forced to join it's halves together again and occupation of Rotterdam was abandoned in favor of Utrecht.
The year had already progressed to November and Austrians were recovering from prior battles when Belgians, having beaten the Russians out of Belgia, chose to engage the Dutch again in Breda. (To give proper impression of how beat up those Austrian armies are, they should have 24 strenght, 2 cavallery divisions and 6 infantry)
Meanwhile, in austria, process of assimilating the 'minorities', ever so slowly, had ran into few minor problems, indeed, it was decided that when it comes to education, it's better to provide it for even them, just with right mix of Austrian unity propaganda.
By January of 1838 von Brudermann had arrived with the V. Armee and engaged the Dutch army still in Breda. At this time, there was talk in Vienna about reclaiming some part of the lowlands for the Austrian Empire, but Metternich convinced Francis I that such demands would probably not be appriciated by even their current allies.
With Dutch set in place, I. and III. Armee also joined in to flank and surround the Dutch army, however, Lucas managed to evade again, arriving in Utrecht.
While V. Armee stayed in Breda, the I. and III. Armee, now almost fully reinforced, chased after Lucas to Utrecht and then Amsterdam.
Finally, in June, a white peace was signed with all participants, by heavy urging of the British and some medling from the French. This was most timely as pressure in court to start presenting demands of territory to the dutch was growing. The lesson learned from this war was that Austrian officer corps were severely lacking.