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Feb 22, 2004
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L'Empereur est mort: A French AAR

Louis Phillipe I (flags).jpg

'France cannot be France without greatness.'
- Charles de Gaulle

Welcome to L'Empereur est mort!

First, do not let the title fool you, this AAR will be in English unless the author can recall a lot more French from school than he can at the moment.

This AAR will be a (mostly) History Book AAR about France. I'm using the New Nations Mod. Other than the modest goal of keeping France a Great Power I have no set goals, though I do have preferences. We will see how it goes!

While this is not an interactive or collabrative AAR as such I'm very happy to take onboard suggestions, ideas or comments during the game. As always I hope you have as much fun reading it as I do writing it. :)
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Contents (warning - chapter titles may contain spoilers!)

I. From the fall of Napoleon to the July Revolution
II. The Citizen King
III. France in January 1836.

The July Monarchy (1836 to 1845)

Part One - The Austrian Affair
Part Two - The Algerian Campaign
Part Three - Mexico
Part Four - The Election of 1840
Part Five - The Navalists
Part Six - Intervention in the Oriental Crisis
Part Seven - The Election of 1843
Part Eight - The Road to War

The Anglo-French War (1845)

Part Nine - The Anglo-French War: Opening Shots
Part Ten - The Anglo-French War: The War at Sea
Part Eleven - The Anglo-French War: The War on Land
Part Twelve - The Anglo-French War: The Peace of Orléans

The Colonial Era (1845 to 1849)

Part Thirteen - Algeria and Brazil
Part Fourteen - Back to Egypt
Part Fifteen - Return of the Exile

The Austro-Prussian War (1849 to 1853)

Part Sixteen - The West
Part Seventeen - The East
Part Eighteen - Vive le roi!

King Ferdinand Philippe (1853 to 1863)
Part Nineteen - A Miserable Decade
Part Twenty - "We shall astonish the world with our ingratitude."
Part Twenty One - The Twelve Weeks War
Part Twenty Two - The Three Earthquakes
Part Twenty Three - Union libérale

The Danubian War (1863 to 1866)
Part Twenty Four - The Second Danubian Crisis
Part Twenty Five - The Danubian War Part I: The War at Sea
Part Twenty Six - The Danubian War Part II: The War On Land

Appendix - The Great Powers in 1866

The Second Anglo-French War (1866 to 1870)

Part Twenty Seven - The Election of 1866
Part Twenty Eight - 'La Royale'
Part Twenty Nine - France in the Far East
Part Thirty - Neptune's Trident
Part Thirty One - The Second Anglo-French war: Opening Salvos
Part Thirty Two - The Second Anglo-French War: War in the Colonies
Part Thirty Three - The Second Anglo-French War: The Belgian Invasion & the Prussian Intervention
Part Thirty Four - The Second Anglo-French War: Three Treaties

Kingdom, Republic or Empire? (1870-1875)

Part Thirty Five: The Election of 1870
Part Thirty Six: India and Africa
Part Thirty Seven - The Tuileries Conference
Part Thirty Eight: Vienna, Saint Petersburg and Constantinople
Part Thirty Nine: Three Deaths

Birth of the Second Republic (1875-1881)

Part Forty - A New Start
Part Forty One - The Second Republic
Part Forty Two - Beyond Paris
Part Forty Three - A Republic Finding Her Feet
Part Forty Four - The Elections of 1877
Part Forty Five - Marshal Duchêne
Part Forty Six - The War of 1877

Return to Stability (1881-1892)

Part Forty Seven - The Fall of the Government
Part Forty Eight - The Golden Age of the Republic
Part Forty Nine - The Scramble for Africa
Part Fifty - The Right Revives
Part Fifty One - From Ironclads to Battleships: The French Navy in the late Nineteenth Century
Part Fifty Two - Boulanger and Italy
Part Fifty Three - Italy and After

The Republic Under Threat (1892-1899)

Part Fifty Four - Britain, Russia, Turkey & Brazil
Part Fifty Five - Remember the Paris!
Part Fifty Six - The Franco-Japanese War: The Battle of Henderson Seamount
Part Fifty Seven - The Franco-Japanese War: The three battles of the South Korean Sea
Part Fifty Eight - The German Folly
Part Fifty Nine - Royalists, Republicans and Boulangists
Part Sixty - The Election of 1895
Part Sixty One - Brazil and the House of Orléans

Appendix - the Great Powers in 1896
Appendix - France in 1896

Part Sixty Two - The Dreyfus Affair & the Election of 1899

A New Century (1900-1909)

Part Sixty Three - Les Républiques soeurs?
Part Sixty Four - The Decline & Fall of the Kingdom of Italy
Part Sixty Five - The Election of 1904
Part Sixty Six - To War
Part Sixty Seven - Battle for the Rhine Part One
Part Sixty Eight - Battle for the Rhine Part Two
Part Sixty Nine - The Election of 1909
Part Seventy - The Peace of 1909

An Unstable World (1910- 1921)

Part Seventy One - Revolutions All Over The Place

Appendix: The Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of St. Stephen (the Tripartite Monarchy)

Part Seventy Two - Clemenceau Departs
Part Seventy Three - The Election of 1913
Part Seventy Four - La Royale and the Anglo-French Naval Race
Part Seventy Five - The Presidential Election of 1914
Part Seventy Six - Rome, Vienna & Paris
Part Seventy Seven - Difficult Days

The Republic Triumphant (1922- 1928)

Part Seventy Eight - The Election of 1922
Part Seventy Nine - Farewell Danubia
Part Eighty - The Fall of Poincaré
Part Eighty One - The Election of 1926
Part Eighty Two - The Italians and the Turks

Towards an Uncertain Future (1929- 1936)

Part Eighty Three - The Egyptian Revolt of 1929
Part Eighty Four - Germany Rising
Part Eighty Five - The Election of 1931
Part Eighty Six - The Global Crisis
Part Eighty Seven - The Great War in the Far East
Part Eighty Eight - The Great War in the Air and at Sea
Part Eighty Nine - The Great War in the West
Part Ninety - Peace and war in Europe, war and peace in India
Finale - The Election of 1935

Appendix - The Great Powers in 1936

Final Notes
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France! Yes! :) You can count on me following, and helping ou if you need recalling the French. :p
recreate the continental French Empire
Ah, France... Fertile soil for creating your own kind of greatness. Will you try to beat Britain at the colonial game, and/or destroy Austria's hegemony in Italy, or protect and/or gut the Ottomans... So many choices. And then there's Prussia, of course. Whether you intend to stick close to history, or carve your own path, this should be good.
Charles X.jpg

King Charles X

I. From the fall of Napoleon to the July Revolution

On Sunday, 18 June 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia met near the small town of Waterloo, previously of the United Provinces, then of the French Empire and after of the yet to be created Kingdom of Belgium. By the end of the battle forty thousand Frenchmen were dead, wounded or captured and the dreams of Napoleon Bonaparte lay in ruins. The Emperor had being driven from his throne the previous year only to come within an ace of restoring everything he had lost. After Waterloo there would be no more strokes of genius and audacity, only a lonely exile on an Atlantic rock with a court of staid British officers and only an Irish doctor to keep a sympathetic ear.

The France the Emperor Napoleon left had been almost constantly at war for more than two decades. The House of Bourbon, restored in the person of a tired and fat old gentleman who had spent many years abroad under false names lest he be recognised, had returned to a country changed beyond all recognition from the France that had existed before 1789. King Louis XVIII was no fool, for all he had underestimated Napoleon, and he was prepared to compromise with those Frenchmen who hated the Bourbons and the monarchy. He knew that he had been restored by the bayonets of foreigners rather than the wish of the people, and ultimately his reign could only last with the support of the people. Louis was prepared to be ruthless if needed, as he was after the brief last hurrah of Bonapartism that has been called the Hundred Days, but he knew that if the Bourbons were to survive they needed to walk a tightrope. Thus the Charter of 1814, providing a modestly liberal monarchy with a Chamber of Deputies elected by a narrow franchise. For a decade the French people, led by an unloved but canny king would enjoy a decade of peace. After the glory and disaster of the preceding twenty five years it was a peace that was much needed.

This was something the Comte d'Artois never understood. Louis' brother and heir, the loyal friend of Marie Antoinette and the bitterest foe of Revolution, lived in the Pavillon de Mars where the Ancien Régime survived in ways it did not in the Tuileries Palace. The Comte for a time even employed his own secret police, independent from his brother. When he came to the throne - as he must given the childlessness of Louis - he was determined to sweep away the legacy of the Revolution and Napoleon. It would be as if everything from 1789 on had never been and the France of his martyred brother and sister-in-law restored to her rightful place of honour. The murder of his younger son the Duc de Berry at the hands of a Bonapartist in 1820 only hardened the Comte's resolve.

Louis XVIII, the unlikeliest of French kings, died on 16 September 1824 and the Comte d'Artois became King Charles X. The new King, disdaining the precedent of his late brother was anointed at Reims in medieval splendour. His ministers wasted no time in compensating the nobles who had lost their fortunes in the Revolution, via stern indemnities. The King, favouring the Roman Catholic church introduced a stern new Anti-Sacrilege Act. His popularity suffered. Government proposals to change the succession laws and tighten censorship met such a hostile reception in the Chamber of Deputies that the King's supporters were forced to make a humiliating retreat. Worst of all, as it was so public, were the events of the 16 April 1827. Charles reviewed the Garde Royale and instead of cheers found himself met by an hostile silence from the watching crowds, many so disdainful they did not even remove their hats as he passed by.

On 17 March 1830 the Chamber of Deputies voted a motion of no confidence in the Duc de Polignac, Charles' prime minister. The King dissolved parliament, then unwisely delayed elections for two months, hoping the crisis would pass. It was a fatal error and compounded by the dissolution of the National Guard of Paris public turned ever more hostile against the King. When finally held the elections produced a majority for the King's opponents. On 25 July Charles issued four ordinances that censored the press, dissolved the newly elected chamber, altered the electoral system, and called for elections in September. It was his final mistake.

Paris, sweltering in the Summer heat, erupted into three days of confused rioting. At some point the crisis transitioned into outright revolution as Parisians struck to defend the Charter. The government crumbled away and by 16 August Charles was again an exile, taking ship with his family for England under a false name. The glorious attempt to turn back the clock had failed. As the exhausted "Count of Ponthieu" set foot on English soil to the sight of jeering crowds waving tricolours he must have wondered what had happened to his beloved France - and what would happen to her now?


Liberty Guiding the People, by Delacroix, celebrating the 1830 July Revolution.
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Sithlent: Thank you. :)

Specialist290: Good to see you again and I hope you enjoy this one! :0

loup99: Thank you! I admit I never studied 19th century French history so please be kind if I go wrong! ;)

Sancronis: well, we shall see. :D

Lunarc: Thank you! :)

guillec87: That is one possibility, albeit not the only one. :)

Stuyvesant: Exactly! France abounds with opportunities and challenges and also has a certain, well, je ne sais quoi. :D
The main branch of the Bourbon dynasty has finally been ousted, and no more descendants of Louis XIV will hopefully ever rule upon France! With that, absolutist monarchs should belong to the past.
Louis philippe.jpg

King Louis Philippe

II. The Citizen King

The Duc d'Orléans shared with a cousin King Charles X a life of rapidly changing fortunes, adventure and exile. In every other respect the two men differed. Charles had been the great standard bearer of the ultra royalists, looking to roll back the revloution. The Duc was a liberal from birth, the son of the infamous regicide Philippe Égalité and scion of a cadet branch of the Bourbons that had been at odds with their seniors for generations. In 1830 he was no longer the dashing young officer of the revolutionary years (he was nearly sixty and growing plump) but he was one other thing Charles X was not: popular. It would win him a throne.

There were many republicans in France in July 1830 but France herself was not republican. The Chamber of Deputies, elected on the well heeled franchise of 1814 was not a body of Jacobins looking for a return to the days of revolution. The Duc d'Orléans, asked by the fleeing Charles to act as regent for Henri, duc de Bordeaux the ten year old grandson of the ex-monarch. The Duc d'Orléans said nothing. He knew that the Chamber of Deputies would turn to the one man popular enough to save the monarchy. His opponents would never forgive him for not standing by his family and placing his own interests first. His supporters would hail him for seeing that France could not be led by a ten year old boy chosen by a despised and toppled despot. On 9 August 1830 the Duc was sworn in as Louis Philippe, King of the French. The title referencing the people rather than the land was a touch echoing Napoleon, though none mentioned him in public. The new king would almost at once be known as the Citizen King.

Never had a French monarch been more travelled. Never had a French monarch suffered such hardship in his life. In his long and wandering journey abroad Louis Philippe had lived in Finland and the United States of America. He had been at one time so poor that he had been turned away from a monastery because his appearance was that of a vagabond. He had performed menial labour to keep food in his stomach. Aging as he was Louis Philippe was at once a more attractive figure than Charles X. To conservatives he promised the future of the monarchy, to liberals the restoration of parliamentry government under a king more inclined to listen to the people than any before.

There were inevitably malcontents on both the right and the left, those who wanted a different king and those who wanted no king at all. Louis Philippe was the target of caricature and far more dangerous malcontents who reached for the firearm and the bomb rather than the printing press. As much as his support base was the middle class who had thrilled to the exploits of the young man and who dreaded a return to the Terror, that same class placed vast expectations on their monarch. The situation was tense from the beginning and the Citizen King could hardly forget even Charles X had been popular at first.

In the last days of the reign of Charles X the French had launched a great military expedition against Algiers. Louis Philippe inherited that war, the first great French expedition since the fall of Napoleon. Though success came too late to save Charlez X, the French army and navy performed well and the popularity of the war kept the new regime invested in North Africa. Prestige came at a price, in this case the presence of thousands of French soldiers across the Mediterranean. Louis Philippe was therefore alarmed when the Belgian crisis of 1830 threatened to spill into a major on the French doorstep. Thankfully diplomacy saved the day, if the French hopes to acquire the Francophone part of the new state were rejected by the other powers.

The crises of 1830 that had toppled a monarch in France and created a new kingdom in the Low Countries revealed that the broader peace most of Europe had enjoyed since 1815 was perhaps not as set in stone as might be hoped. The outbreak of civil war in Spain in 1833 seemed to hint at even greater turmoil bubbling below the surface. Even so, from the perspective of the average Frenchman the beginning of 1836 was good. With the army and navy victorious in North Africa, the King still reasonably popular and relations with the other powers good France was in some respects in better shape than at any time since before that fateful day at Waterloo...
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Loup99: I feel both the Orléanists and republicans would agree with you there! :)
III. France in January 1836

France 1836.jpg

Head of State: King Louis Philippe
Head of Government:
Achille-Léonce-Victor-Charles, duc de Broglie (President of the Council of Ministers) 1.
Ruling Party:
Orléanist (Conservative)
Rank: #3
Population (inc. colonies):
35.09 million.
Sphere of Influence: The Papal States.
Army: 47 regiments (2 Artillery, 4 Guard, 4 Hussars, 5 Cuirassiers, 32 Infantry.)
Navy: 69 ships (6 Transports, 30 Frigates, 33 Man o'war.)

1. Historical at the beginning of 1836.
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As always, I will follow a RossN AAR steadfastly.:)
a really interesting introduction! I'm not that familiar with French history from 1815 to Napoleon III so it was a good reading for me
The title of "King of the French" was also the one of Louis XVI in his final years, so we will see if the second king with that title will end up with the same fate as his predecessor, or manage to hold onto the throne and establish the Orléans as the ruling dynasty during the rest of the century. Personally, I side with the Republic!
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As always, an intriguing start. France in 1836 is truly one of those nations that can go almost anywhere, and I'll be watching closely to see where you take it.

I'm almost hoping that Louis Philippe's rule manages to survive the '48 revolutions. I've always had a little bit of a soft spot for the guy, and I think it would be interesting to see a French constitutional monarchy that survives into the 20th century (or at least a little further than it actually did).
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Interesting beginning. We shall see how the Citizen King lasts, or if a new Republic will rise. Just for the sake of it, I support the Monarchy!
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