Aspirations of Grandeur; The Vainglory of an Empire - A Bohemian DoD AAR

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Derahan

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Subscribed! If I remember from my playthrough, there is little to stop the HRE once it is formed. I'm curious to see what challenges you attempt to write for it...

Welcome! And yes the HRE indeed becomes very powerful whence it becomes whole again, but I do have plans to put logs in the cogs for the empire in due time.
 
Chapter VI: Phantoms at the Opera

Derahan

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Chapter VI
Phantoms at the Opera

As the guns fell silent once again across Germany a new reality set in. The purging of the nobles in the Rhineland and along the Danube, the confiscation of titles and land and the forced integration into imperial bureaucracy would soon once again fan the flames of discontent and revolt inside the empire. The League War concluded on 8th February 1848 and the king of Austria executed the following day, the ruling circle of the empire had hoped their troubles would be over.

Their hopes were dashed only a week later. On a street in Mainz a local protest was taking place against the newly arrived imperial governor of the city. The governor began implementing imperial policy upon his arrival in a very inconsiderate manner which angered the locals just enough to take to the streets. Being the ruthless character that he was, the governor ordered the local garrison to open fire against the protestors, naming them a Burgundian fifth column and enemies of the empire. This triggered an eruption of an armed revolt in Mainz which spread across the Rhineland with demands to recede the new policies.

When the news arrived in Prague that the entirety of the Rhineland had risen in revolt against the empire and it had spread to some parts of Westphalia, to Baden-Württemberg and to some parts of Switzerland. This was a revolt large enough to threaten the integrity of the western provinces of the empire and thus the entire imperial army was mobilised once again to swiftly crush the revolt before it would gain momentum. The Rhenish revolt would last only from March to September 1848 as it disintegrated before the veteran soldiers of the imperial army. It failed to achieve anything of significance as all imperial garrisons under siege weathered the storm. Intense scrutiny would be implemented after this on all imperial officials so as this event would not repeat itself again due to one official's bad character.



The Rhenish revolt at its furthest extent just as the Imperial counterattack began.

The Rhineland did not stand alone however. During the late spring in 1848 other revolts broke out across the empire in support of the Rhenish revolteurs. Revolts largely inspired by and copied the agenda of the Rhenish revolt erupted in Pomerania, East Prussia and Bavaria . This was a grave miscalculation by the revolters as the imperial army was already pushing back the Rhenish. Smaller armies were detached from the fighting in the west and sent east to quell the revolts. As armies entered the regions of Bavaria and Pommerania they were joined by local forces raised by the king of Bavaria and Duke of Pomerania respectively. The story wasn't much different in these regions either as the local revolts amounted to nothing more than disorganised mobs in face of the imperial soldiers on the field of battle.

However, as this was the early 19th century, information traveled at the speed of a horse or at most the speed of a railroad. Misinformation and rumors thus spread across the empire from the very rebels defeated at its hands. Rumors of savage cruelty ran from the lips of the defeated and caused fear and anger in the minds of those it reached. The flames of disbelief against the empire fanned up and the peoples angsts projected towards the emperor as the army, the perceived source of their unjust fear, was seen as his extended arm. Thus in the area roughly constituting lower Thuringia and regions in Bavaria bordering Thuringia yet another rebellion broke out centered around the city of Wurzburg.

Old cries from a bygone era echoed through the streets of this region; Demands of liberty and an end to the repressive monarchy of the empire arose as liberal ideas once again sprung up inside the empire. This struck horror in the highest circles of Imperial governance and the detachments sent towards Bavaria and Pommerania were ordered towards Thuringia to put out the liberals before the ideas spread any further. With Imperial armies marching across the empire back and forth no one had complete control over the military situation and chaos descended upon the Imperial bureaucracy as it was overwhelmed with reports of rebellions and pleas for military intervention from the central government.


.

The other three revolts that rocked the empire and almost overwhelmed it.

As summer turned to autumn the situation stabilized for the empire as the Rhenish revolt was crushed and the armies in the west were sent east to help quell the three ongoing rebellions in the empire. With the entirety of the imperial army descending the revolts were gradually stamped out. The first to fall were the liberals in Thuringia as they were deemed the ones posing the highest threat overall to the empire's cohesion. So from autumn 1848 to spring 1849 all active revolts against the empire were crushed and the leaders shot in order to prevent, at least for the moment, more revolts from organising. Much though was given to establishing some organisation similar to that of the old inquisition which could actively hunt down and stop these revolts from happening from the start, but it was ultimately decided against it as it had been one of the causes of the conflagration at the turn of the century which was something none would want to happen again.

For several months, all effort of the Imperial army had been focused on quelling the rebellions that had broken out inside the empire. Having to wage campaign after campaign started to wear down the imperial army and, at the conclusion of the rebellions, had lost a third of the size it had been before The League War. Just as it seemed the Empire would be able to endure a time of peace, disaster struck once again. On 5th April 1849 messengers arrived in Prague bearing news that Burgundian soldiers had crossed the border and invaded the Rhineland. There were no greater opportunity for the Burgundians to strike than now; The imperial army was at its weakest it had been since the end of The Great German War and the main force on the continent and the nominal ally of the empire, the Dual Monarchy, was in a process of rapid disintegration suffering several liberal and nationalistic revolutions simultaneously[1].

The imperial army was ordered west to stem the tide of the Burgundian invasion with the goal to at the least keep it on the other side of the Rhine river. When it became apparent that the Burgundian army was bigger than the imperial in size, the emperor sent a messenger to Budapest to ask the Hungarians to honour their alliance and aid the empire in this dark hour. Without hesitation the Hungarians answered the call and sent most of their army to the Rhine, leaving only parts of it in Hungary to keep order in their own realm. With the addition of allies the imperial army grew to almost 300.000 men in size and outnumbered the invading Burgundians by almost 100.000 men.



The Burgundian invasion before the counter attack by Imperial and Hungarian forces.

Early summer reorganized allied forces started their advance into the Rhineland with the plan to force the Burgundians into battle and thus using numerical superiority achieving victory. The Burgundians were ready however and as soon as the first divisions of allied forces crossed the Rhine they were attacked. This first battle outside the city of Cologne resulted in a decisive Burgundian victory as the allies couldn’t concentrate forces quickly enough on the western bank to repulse the Burgundians. Forced to retreat across the Rhine under fire, the allies suffered thrice the amount of casualties as the invaders and for the moment a huge drop in morale. This defeat forced a rethinking of the allies strategy and the decision was taken to not force the Rhine for now and instead cross into Friesland and Gelderland to try and circumvent the Burgundians in the north, and if possible strike the capital to draw forces away from the Rhineland.

Taken completely by surprise the Burgundians scrambled to contain the allied incursion in the north, and in the process leaving the Rhineland vulnerable. Seizing the opportunity imperial armies forced the crossings of the Rhine on several points and successfully beat back the invaders city by city. Barely managing to halt the allied forces in Gelderland and unable to stem the tide of the imperial advance across the Rhineland, the Burgundians opted to instead sue for peace with the empire. Status quo was rejected by the empire and as they continued the push into Wallonia and the Burgundian heartland, the kingdom acquiesced to imperial demands to cede territories as payments for wreaking havoc on imperial soil. After emissaries brokered a peace the empire was given control over several Burgundian islands in the Caribbean leaving the empire with an, albeit small, colonial empire, the first in German history.



The new colonial possession of the empire

And thus with the peace between the Empire and the Burgundians ended a decade of war. As the peace was signed in late December 1849 the empire looked forward to a new decade, one which held grand promises now that the empire was secure from both internal and external enemies. The Burgundian invasion had been a rallying point for the German people who saw it as renewed Burgundian imperialism inside the empire and thus, even if just for a short period, the people were united in heart and mind. With the peace bringing promise of a place in the sun and a chair at the table of the great powers across the globe hope was growing that the many wars that had more or less plagued the empire for half a century was a thing of the past. The empire looked with anticipation forward towards a new era, and very likely, an era dominated by them.

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[1] - This event will be addressed in the next chapter but to say the least, the D-M is disintegrating.
 
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HIMDogson

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Welp, the disintegration of the DM is a blessing and a curse; it means that there's no single power that can hope to challenge the Empire, but it also means that the Empire is left without allies in a dangerous world.
 

DensleyBlair

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I reiterate my earlier feeling that it's still going to be some time yet until things calm down in Central Europe. Particularly with this opportunistic war in the Rhineland. Everything still feels like it's balancing on a knife-edge a little.
 

Derahan

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Welp, the disintegration of the DM is a blessing and a curse; it means that there's no single power that can hope to challenge the Empire, but it also means that the Empire is left without allies in a dangerous world.

Quite dangerous. Though there is still allies left for the empire in the form of the Hungarian state it isn't that much by a long shot as compared to the countries around they are at the core rather a weak country. However if one searches there might be allies in the unlikeliest of places.

I reiterate my earlier feeling that it's still going to be some time yet until things calm down in Central Europe. Particularly with this opportunistic war in the Rhineland. Everything still feels like it's balancing on a knife-edge a little.

Indeed. The empire is by no means a stable place as one might think from the start and I would like to echo back to a comparison to OTL German empire. After its inception Europe also dangled on a knife-edge for the 40 years up to the world war. It was also largely by cunning politics that they kept the empire together as by the start of world war 1 Germany had the largest population of socialists in the world. Thing could have ended very, very differently if less competent (and there is a discussion to be had on how competent they were during the last 20 years after Bismarck) had been at the helm of that empire.
 
Chapter VII: Noticeable European Events

Derahan

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Chapter VII
Noticeable European Events

If the unification of the Holy Roman Empire was the penultimate event to occur during the 1840s, then the collapse of the Dual Monarchy certainly was the crowning of the decade perhaps even the half-century. The Angevins in western Europe rode out the storm of conflagration that occured in Germany; Complacent enough to simply watch as their closest rivals and foremost allied tore each other apart during several wars spanning decades; They enjoyed an epoch of unparalleled growth that saw huge shift in society from the old feudal social system to a new industrial society fueled by a new economic elite and built upon the backs of long repressed cultural groups. With this shift the Angevins adopted a new policy, later dubbed, Angevinisation which strove to promote the Franco-English cultural mix that had formed the core and powerbase of the monarchy for centuries and repress, which is an understatement, older regional cultural identities. It was their grave mistake that they had not paid enough attention to the events in Germany.

It all began in May 1842 when the Dauphin of the Dual Monarchy was on a visit in Liverpool. This caused a massive shock to the establishment, such an act was virtually unheard of and in their eyes completely insane. It nevertheless instilled in the repressed groups that the Angevins could be bested. As the Angevin power was weakened both internally and especially externally, one of the long rivals of the Dual-Monarchy exploited this vulnerability. In 1844 Aragon decided to start supporting nationalists in England, no doubt in order to weaken the Monarchy by forcing them to focus on internal problems. Although this was resolved rather expediently with threats from the Angevins of military force, it fanned the flames of discontent.

None knows exactly how it started, but in 1847 large liberal-nationalist revolutions broke out in France, England, Occitania and Ireland as the people had tired of the Angevins repression. Mirroring the liberal revolution in Germany 50 years earlier, the different peoples rejected the authoritarian fist of the old order. While the Angevins tried in vain to crush the revolutionaries, liberal revolutionaries rose from amongst their own powerbase; Instilled with the ideas of liberty they hoped that they could entice the various peoples into a common republic that would stand above all. But that was but dreams and even before 1848 came to an end the Angevins had fallen and the republics of France, England, Ireland and Occitania had been established, turning the power balance of Europe upside down concurrently with the unification of the Holy Roman Empire.

These events even spread outside of the Dual Monarchy. With the English and Irish fighting for their freedom the Scottish people, still ruled by the Scandinavia monarchy, revolted. Scandinavia having suffered at the hands of the Bohemians during the Elbian crisis and neither had they recovered from The Great German War and the loss of their colonies thereafter, couldn’t muster an effective response to the rebellion and were forced to watch as Scotland seceded from their realm. The only relief for Scandinavia was that they could size some of the old colonies of the Dual Monarchy, along with Burgundy and Spain.


The four nations that rose from the ashes of the Dual Monarchy along an independent Scotland.

In western Europe a nation splintered into several while in the east several nations combined, rather reluctantly, into one. The rulers of Muscovy had long been foiled in their attempts to unify the Russian people under one ruler by Scandinavia, Bohemia/Poland and the Ottomans who wished to keep the various Russian and Tartar states of the region divided and in conflict so as not to threaten their backs when they turned focus to the inevitable and never ending series of wars in central, western and southern Europe. Now that the focus of the European powers were focused elsewhere, for Bohemia and Scandinavia in German and for the Ottomans to bring an end to their 30 years civil war, the Muscovites decided to act and started a southward expansion into tartar lands. Having almost subjugated the Astrakhan Khanate, in 1843 Novgorod and backed by Scandinavia attacked.

This was not a calculated move however, as the Scandinavias were still suffering from defeat in Germany and Novgorod soon suffered an economic crash as much of their economy was propped up by Scandinavia, whom now with depleted resources could not prop up this bulwark state. “The War of Desperation” as it was dubbed by the Muscovites as their armies pressed the northern powers back, stopping just short of Finland. In the following peace Scandinavia had to relinquish all influence in Novgorod and Pskov subjecting them to Muscovite rule and in return Muscovy proposed an anti-polish alliance by which the Scandinavias could gain some territory to compensate for their territorial losses in northern Germany. The deal was accepted.

A year later, in 1845, the Muscovite tsar would be proclaimed as the tsar of all the Russians and the Russian Empire was created. The last year harsh and violent integration of Pskov and Novgorod had halted all internal opposition still left in the areas and now the tsar was free to seek foreign adventures. Following the deal signed with the Scandinavians the Russians prepared to face the Polish Commonwealth. It was delayed however as Scandinavia experienced the loss of Scotland during the late 1840s and thus it was not until 1849 that the two powers launched a joint invasion of Poland, who could not be defended by its ally Bohemia as it was embroiled in a struggle with Burgundy. Forced to wage a war on a large front the Polish valiantly tried to defend their lands but ultimately they crumbled before the great powers. The war lasted not many months and in december 1849 the peace of Vilnius was signed wherein Poland seceded the province of Luhansk to Russia and Courland to Scandinavia as well as accepting Scandinavian interference in Lithuania and Russian influence in Belorussia and Ukraine.


The state of eastern Europe after Russian expansion.

Not much could be said for the rest of Europe. Nothing had changed on the Iberian peninsula as the stalemate between Spain and Aragon continued as it had for the last centuries. In Italy the Etruscan republic had expanded northwards and incorporated some smaller Italian states after the failed council of Firenze where a diplomatic unification of Italy had been attempted but ultimately failed after threats of an Aragonese invasion. Thus Italy would for the foreseeable future be divided yet but through the action of the Etruscans and the intervention of the Aragonese, a nationalistic though and movement would grow and it would become every stronger as the years passed by.

The Ottomans would by the end of 1840s come out of their decades long civil war with an absolute authoritarian sultan sitting on the throne and the various rebellions crushed and Wallachia annexed into the empire after its opportune invasion of Dobruja in the early 1840s. By late 1849 they would launch an invasion of Albania to reclaim the province just as they had with Macedonia a few years later. They were now poised to reclaim territory and also expand, of particular importance to them were the Greek lands to the south though ruled by Venice had in recent years fought a independence war but lost weakening the Doges which opened a path for renewed Ottoman expansion.



The state of the Continent in 1850, a much different place than just 10 years earlier.
 

HIMDogson

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Ironically the two newest powers of Europe- Russia the the HRE- are the most stalwart defenders of the old order. I would ditch Poland in favor of Russia; Russia would make a stronger ally, and we absolutists need to stick together.
 

cybandeath

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Ironically the two newest powers of Europe- Russia the the HRE- are the most stalwart defenders of the old order. I would ditch Poland in favor of Russia; Russia would make a stronger ally, and we absolutists need to stick together.
I would have to agree, Poland is a natural enemy in which to expand against for the HRE, and Russia will inevitably fight over Russian peoples in easter PLC anyways, it would be better simply grab the proper polish parts of the PLC before Russia can push that far, besides the PLC will be a weaker ally anyways.
 

DensleyBlair

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Wales really can’t catch a break, can it? Everyone else in Britain except maybe the Cornish get their own place, and still the get lumped in with the English…

This alt-19th century continues to be wild. Would love to get a glimpse of what life is like on the ground.
 

Derahan

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Ironically the two newest powers of Europe- Russia the the HRE- are the most stalwart defenders of the old order. I would ditch Poland in favor of Russia; Russia would make a stronger ally, and we absolutists need to stick together.

I would have to agree, Poland is a natural enemy in which to expand against for the HRE, and Russia will inevitably fight over Russian peoples in easter PLC anyways, it would be better simply grab the proper polish parts of the PLC before Russia can push that far, besides the PLC will be a weaker ally anyways.

Not to go too much ahead of events, the Polish did for sure not honour the alliance with the empire during the unification wars of the 1840s. Not. Once. They are in this alt-history not very reliable in the eyes the empire. And it is indeed very much weaker now that the duchy of Prussia belongs to the empire (accidentaly voluntary annexation?).

Wales really can’t catch a break, can it? Everyone else in Britain except maybe the Cornish get their own place, and still the get lumped in with the English…

This alt-19th century continues to be wild. Would love to get a glimpse of what life is like on the ground.

Yes it is interesting that they don't get to be independent from this event as well, I mean they are culturally different from the English and they separated the Occitans from the French so why not the Welsh from the English. Might have to rectify that misstake down the road heh.

I was planning to switch up the style a little to elaborate more on the world and the people instead of only focusing on imperial politics, that said there were not alot else to focus on for the 1840s as it was just one war after another to be fought.
 
Addendum I: The Evolution of Bohemian-Hungarian Relations During the 1840s

Derahan

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Addendum I
The Evolution of Bohemian-Hungarian Relations During the 1840s

Diplomatic relations between Bohemia and Hungary started during the Hungarian war for independence in the 1810s when it sent troops to fight alongside the Hungarians against the Turks. As the country was liberated more and more a large success was foreseen but this was not to be. As Hungary was liberated the Bohemians, on the order of emperor Wenceslas VIII, stole the Holy Crown of Saint Stephan and claimed the title King of Hungary for themselves. This was a grievous taunt towards the house of Hunyadi which sat on the throne of Hungary but was powerless to do anything even though the Bohemians were embroiled in The Great German War. This newly liberated nation had to bear the shame and anger whilst rebuilding what they could.

This state of relation would last for some time, initially mostly propagated by hostile attitudes of the Hungarians and in the late 1830s it had more or less become the status quo. However as the new emperor and king of Bohemia made a name for himself and it was proven that he was a very different kind of ruler than that of his father, hope was sparked in Budapest. In 1842 a delegation of Hungarian nobles set off for Prague to negotiate with the young emperor for the return of the Holy Crown of Saint Stephan. The Hungarians were prepared for a hard time and dreaded that they possibly would not return with the crown. But when they asked for the return of the crown, the young emperor simply returned it to them right on the spot (probably foreseeing this development in advance). Flabbergasted the delegation was quick to accept an offer from the emperor of an alliance between the kingdoms all the while expressing his deepest regrets for his fathers actions. Thus by a whim the alliance between Hungary and Bohemia would be formed and later ratified by the king of Hungary.


The return of the crown to the Hungarians.

The other powers of Europe did not expect much from this alliance as it was seen as just as a farce made by the Bohemians to enthrall the people of the empire into a belief of Bohemian benevolence. The emperor did not either expect much out of this alliance believing the Hungarians to still be bitter about the whole affair and thus did not activate it during his war against the Burgundians in 1841-43 or the following War of the Leagues. However when the Burgundians attacked once again in 1849 several tens of thousands of Hungarians soldiers showed up unannounced proclaiming that the king of Hungary intends to honour the alliance and give proof of his sincere belief of a new age for relations between the two realms.

Thus, with the aid of the Hungarians the empire was able to match and even outnumber the Burgundian army in the new war enabling it to crush the final opposition to the unification of the empire. To repay this the emperor sent Bohemian military advisors, economists and intellectuals along with huge funds to Hungary with the mission to modernise the country as a token of imperial gratitude. This was how the special relations between the two nations would start and in the future when the empire would undoubtedly face hardships they, at the least, could always count on the Hungarians to stand by them (and vice versa).

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Authors note: Forgot to put this is the last chapter so it became its own thing.
 
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guillec87

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very interesting lecture! subbed!
 

DensleyBlair

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To repay this the emperor sent Bohemian military advisors, economists and intellectuals along with huge funds to Hungary with the mission to modernise the country as a token of imperial gratitude.

Convenient how this little gesture of gratitude will end up bringing Hungary firmly into line with imperial interests in the long-run. I bet the Empire couldn't believe its luck when the Hungarians turned up all wide-eyed asking for their crown back.
 

Derahan

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very interesting lecture! subbed!

Thank you and welcome!

Convenient how this little gesture of gratitude will end up bringing Hungary firmly into line with imperial interests in the long-run. I bet the Empire couldn't believe its luck when the Hungarians turned up all wide-eyed asking for their crown back.

For a person who wasn't really interested in pursuing this title then it is indeed quiet convinient that you can tie a nation to you just by giving them an item of no value to yourself.
 

Director

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I am sure the Emperor made sure to word the proclamation in such a way as to emphasize that the return was his decision and his gift... Still, Hungary could do worse for an ally and they do need friends.

The obvious alliance, if it can be had, is with France. That vice could crush Burgundy to the benefit of Empire and France alike.
 

Derahan

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I am sure the Emperor made sure to word the proclamation in such a way as to emphasize that the return was his decision and his gift... Still, Hungary could do worse for an ally and they do need friends.

The obvious alliance, if it can be had, is with France. That vice could crush Burgundy to the benefit of Empire and France alike.


Hungary is a very easy friend of the empire for very little investments thats for sure. As for France, it might be the natural friend against burgundy but france is a democratic republic while the empire is an absolute monarchy and as such the republics of western europe is more likely to ally with eachother rather than the enemies of their ideals even if they would be great allies ( at the moment at least).
 

Director

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Point taken - but Republican France in our timeline had no trouble allying itself to Czarist Russia. Geopolitical necessity can make for strange events, like the Czar receiving the French ambassador to the strains of the 'Marseillaise', which it had been a crime in Russia to perform up until that point.
 

Derahan

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Point taken - but Republican France in our timeline had no trouble allying itself to Czarist Russia. Geopolitical necessity can make for strange events, like the Czar receiving the French ambassador to the strains of the 'Marseillaise', which it had been a crime in Russia to perform up until that point.
I definitely agree with @Director – geopolitical advantage trumps moralistic fortitude every time.

Indeed this is the case, but I feel the situation more akin to the French revolution OTL as these new nations rose from the opression of an absolute monarchy that tried to deprive them of their identity. Nevertheless the enemy of my enemy is my friend but from the empires perspective it would legitimise their own internal separatists if they were to acknowledge the new nations that did remove their great ally in the west.

was Scotland revolting a result of nationalist rebels or was it an event scripted by the game? Interesting turn of events either way.

I think it is a scripted event that spawns alot of revolutionaries in Scotland. I am not sure as it was a long time (real time) since it happened and i sort of just realised it when they became a nation. I have a vague memory of an event but it could have been something else.



And also sorry for keeping the wait up, have had a lot to do these last weeks back to work and all but the next chapter is in the works and I do hope that I don't dissappoint!