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This is probably the last update for a few days. I'm off on a family holiday to New York from the 6th to the 12th so I'll catch up when I return, hopefully refreshed. :)

I have to admit this was a tricky update to write. I always play the game close to writing this AAR (at anytime I am, at most a year or two ahead) and while I think that keeps things fresh I perhaps could have laid the groundwork better. Certainly it surprised me, perhaps more than any event since the 1875 revolution!

I had wanted and inteded to deal with French politics but again the war intervened and realistically I considered that the French parties would put their disagreements aside to defend the country. The next update will return to that political stage as we look at the results of the 1893 election and what happens next.


Thank you, it was fun writing it. I was fairly impressed by the Japanese myself and I'll have to keep an eye on well they are doing from now on.

Specialist290: Yes, I have now fought three wars in four years, only one of which I truly planned (against Italy.) The war with Japan was because of an event (and I admit my interest in naval war making me choose the hawkish option) and the North German war was defensive against an unprovoked attack.

Jape: As you can see the Prussians are warmongers. ;)

Yes, that is an excellent point about views towards the Japanese. I think the fact that the war was fought almost entirely at sea and casualties were relatively light (for a conflict between Great Powers) lent it a rather romantic, exciting air to the French public complete with a gallant and brilliant opponent.

guillec87: Well, keep in mind this was essentially a war of honour in revenge for the sinking of the Paris. Demanding Korea would have been a bit much, even if events in Europe had not intervened. :)

Mat Man: Pan-German nationalism and in many ways it could not have come at a worse time. :(

loup99: Yes in the end honour was satisfied. I'm sure you can see why I had to turn my attention back to Europe though!

I've been trying to keep my ship naming sensible and in keeping with the reality of this timeline.. While some are obvious (the ironclad Monarque becomes République) others are trickier - I had a battleship named Carnot before the actual Carnot died for instance.
Oh my, that was unexpected though I suppose it shouldn't be. German nationalism being constantly nipped in the bud is having major impact but it can't be stopped really. I think at this point Prussia, as in junker-ish militarist Prussia led by a grim Kaiser, has lost all right to being champion of pan-German feeling. However what now? As Austria continues to shed non-Germanic lands (well give them autonomy anyway) might Vienna lead the way?

Its a dangerous road. The nightmare scenario is Austria deciding to pick a horse and forming a Grossdeutschland with friendly Hungarian and Slavic states ruled by minor Hapsburgs. And with France and Russia gobbling up German land, nationalists even in the north might see it as the only viable option. Obviously game mechanics etc. make this difficult but either a solution is found or France will be crushing German revolts/revanchist attacks well into the next century.

Can't wait for the election update but have a lovely holiday RossN
As always, the parallels to real-world history are quite informative where they most diverge. The Prussians similarly gambled in 1870 in our world and won, because of the genuine unpopularity of the Second Empire; here they lost against a stable Second Republic, distracted as it was by Oriental concerns at the time.

I also have to agree with @Jape; with Prussia / North Germany undermined, the Habsburgs have a much better shot at championing the cause of a united Germany, one that might be particularly hostile to French interests and in league with la perfide Albion to boot. Throw in an analogue to the Fashoda Incident, and you'll have a nice little setup for a potential world war...

Enjoy the holiday! :)
What an interesting treaty for the war, as it's essentially a picking apart of the hastily put together North German Confederation (crown from the gutter and such). Russia got Ostpreußen, which they actually planned on annexing had the Brusilov Offensive in WWI had gone their way. The further decentralizing Austria-Hungary (now Austria-Hungary-Croatia) had freed Holstein, as well as given Mecklenburg, Lübeck, and Hamburg to the South German Confederation. And France finally got their well deserved Left Bank of the Rhine, with a free and shiny Luxembourg to boot. All in all, a hostile great war for every participant (except the Turks, but they get to keep their alliance as well as be buddy-buddy with both their hostile neighbors.

It seems as though with Austria-Hungary decentralizing even more and more, it seems as though they are preparing to take up the mantle of Pan-German Unification, with all non-German states being ruled as puppets. So it would be best to keep an eye out for that.

Have fun on vacation!
Enjoy New York!

I can see a France-Russia vs Austria-Britain-Japan in the future. Or at least the strong possibility of such. Austria is surely well placed to dominate Mitteleuropa now, and both the UK and Japan have reasons to oppose France too.
Prussia seems to definitely be on the way out of the great power scene after this crushing defeat on three fronts. Given the sheer size of the defeat following the surprise war declaration, a revolution wouldn't surprise me. Maybe Communism will spread from Greece to the North German Federation? Regardless, the new French holdings on the west of the Rhine, with an almost surrounded Belgium, highlight the continued ambitions of continental ambitions, and may remind the UK and Austria of the Napoleonic conquests.

The spectre of the July Monarchy is apparently still haunting France as your cliffhanger implies, but with the last king having died after a life in exile that ghost from the past will hopefully be put aside. Wasn't it after all the weak monarchic form of government of the North German Federation which lead to it being defeated by the superior Republican armed forces? :p

Have a nice stay in New York!
So many graves...so many graves... :p
so dies the idea of a German state... and Kaliningrad was born hehe
France won the war, but will she win the battle against a united Germany under the Habsburgs?
Finally on 5 November the Austro-Hungarians, seeing their chance to further weaken their old rival, declared a separate war to 'liberate' Holstein.

Aaaaannnndd the other shoe drops - and it squashes German hopes when it lands. Austria might not be the #1 Great Power but they are sort of a smaller Russia - they have lots of manpower. The North German Confederation comes a cropper in every game I play, especially because they tend to ally with Britain against France and Russia. In my current game, Britain succeeded in getting Poland formed, reducing Russia and narrowing the German/Russian border. Did that help? A little - it took two years for Germany to fall apart rather than the usual 6-9 months.

Anyway, congratulations on the victory. Historically, France was very poor in coal which caused all sorts of problems for industry and transportation (French locomotives were extremely fuel efficient, for example). Your ability to wage two major wars on opposite ends of the map marks France as a superpower - perhaps the superpower in fact if not by score.

I assume the Dutch and Belgians have suddenly become very polite.
Boulanger_La bombe.JPG

General Boulanger's popularity in the early 1890s stretched across the political divide - here he is seen as the hero of the Republic.

Part Fifty Nine - Royalists, Republicans and Boulangists.

King Louis Philippe II (Philippe VII to some of his supporters) lived quietly in England for almost twenty years after his brief time on the French throne. English visitors and friends in particular seemed bemused that this amiable gentleman and scholar should have inspired a republican revolution. Nor had he exactly; Louis Philippe had had the bad luck to replace a very popular father but perhaps even Ferdinand Philippe had simply postponed the inevitable. More than any other nation in Europe, save perhaps Spain, royalism was cut through with the personal as with the political. The 1830 revolution had ended with a king taking the throne but it had immensely weakened the institution of the monarchy, turning loyalty from the monarch to the individual. The continual presence of the Legitimists in the Chambre was a constant embarrassment to the position of the house of Orléans even if their political influence was negligible. They suggested just how infirm the roots of the system really where. The Times of London, with more insight than most had once noted that 'The French citizenry love Ferdinand Philippe; they tolerate his title.'

During the 1880s and the peak of republican prestige and prosperity it had begun to look as if French royalism would whither away altogether. The overtly royalist share of the vote in the Assemblée nationale fell in 1880 after the disastorous scandals of that year had damaged the whole French Right. That share had dropped still further in 1884 as both M. Carnot and M. Ferry had enjoyed their greatest popularity. The death of the comte de Chambord ('King Henri V' to his supporters) in 1883 had at least healed one damaging split. The Orléanist and Legitimist factions loathed each more than either loathed the republicans but after Henri's death the only possible Legitimist claimant was King Juan III of Spain and his immediate heirs and not even the most reactionary French monarchist favoured France being the junior partner in a shared monarchy with absolutist Spain [1]. Still by 1889 it was questionable whether even a majority of French conservatives wanted a restoration, with the growth of the Républicain modéré movement. The conservative or 'moderate' republicans were a diverse group across the Right ranging from ideological republicans with conservative business views, to former Bonapartists, to old monarchists who had reluctantly resigned themselves to the republican system of government. [2]

The revival in royalist fortunes owed much to two very different men. General Georges Boulanger needs no further introduction. In the early 1890s he was perhaps the most famous man on Earth, excluding the pope or the crowned heads of state, a legend in his own lifetime, Napoleon reborn. Rumour swirled constantly around this saturnine figure; that the Fenians had appealed to him to land an army in Ireland to overthrow the British, that he single handedly saved the Empress Isabelle of Brazil from assassins, that the Mexican people had offered him a throne. To many Frenchman Boulanger's combination of ferocious patriotism and government care was intoxicating.

Adrien Albert Marie, the Comte de Mun resembled Boulanger in nothing save, perhaps, patriotism and a common background as soldiers, though he had departed the ranks far earlier and at a more humble rank than the general. The Comte de Mun, who served as Minister of the Interior under the conservative government of the early 1890s was a social reformer, a devout Roman Catholic moved by the dire conditions of the poor. De Mun represented - embodied really - French social Catholicism. In his sympathy for the desperately poor of Paris and the impoverished farm labourers the Comte de Mun was effectively the 'conscience' of the Droite constitutionnel. De Mun's stressing of a social contract with the French people was gradually becoming the norm even for the French Right. Essentially the French Left had 'won' the battle on social reform: when the Right had won the 1889 election there had been no moves to repeal Ferry's free education laws (other than to reverse some of the most hardline anti-clericalist measures.) [3]


A caricature of the the Marquis de Breteuil, whose overt and unapologetic royalism cost him the presidency of France.

By 1893 the relations between the conservative government was in trouble. An attempt to elect the Marquis de Breteuil as president of France in succession to the ailing Ferdinand de Lesseps had collapsed thanks to an unholy alliance of left wing republican deputies and conservative republicans voting against their own government. The humiliated de Breteuil (whose nomination had been defeated by just seven votes) at once resigned from the government. Though the conservatives did succeed in electing the elderly moderate royalist Gaston Audiffret-Pasquier to the presidency, the Right with their wafer thin majority had been revealed as weak and divided. The cabinet, dominated by open royalists or former royalists who had rallied to the Republic after the Pope's appeal was coming under internal pressure from conservative republicans. Meanwhile Jacques Piou, de Mun and the Baron de Mackau [de Breteuil's successor as Foreign Minister] were growing more suspicious of Boulanger's open populism and militarism. Had war not broken out with Japan the entire edifice might have collapsed completely.

The irony of the Franco-Japanese War was that Boulanger, as Minister for War, was far less important in many ways than Admiral Davout, as Minister of the Marine, but Boulanger was the face of the government in military matters. To immense cheers from the Boulangist press he resigned his seat in the Assemblée to return to the Army as a general - a largely symbolic gesture as he retained his own place in the Cabinet as Minister for War. In this capacity he spent the first eight months of 1893 touring France to investigate arms factories and making speeches on recruitment. As ever vast crowds turned out to listen to the man who had delivered Savoy for France from the apathy of the liberals, the defender of the rights of workers, the chief who would deliver the nation from a parliamentary elite seen as weak and corrupt.

Exactly where 'Boulangism' and royalism began and ended was much harder to tell however, especially as 'Boulangist' deputies were an ad hoc group with members belonging to several different parties. Many, perhaps a majority of Boulangists were royalist, particularly in rural areas and most royalists were, in turn, Boulangist. However Boulanger also drew much support from conservative republicans deeply dissatisfied with parliamentary government, old Bonapartists and some even on the far left. In the febrile mood of mid 1893 it was a combination that struck with the French voters.

Election 1893.jpg

The election of September 1893.

The results of the election that September revealed how far those voters had shifted. The liberal republicans, bereft of Ferry and divided over the war collapsed, going from the largest single party in the Assemblée to fourth place in seats and votes. Conversely the socialists enjoyed their best election in twenty years. It was the parties of the Droite constitutionnel that achieved the best result however, greatly increasing their majority over the combined parties of the Left. The Orléanists comfortably becoming the largest party for the first time since the revolution, immediately landing their leadership on the horns of a dilemma. The Comte d'Haussonville, a friend and sympathiser of the exiled King Louis Philippe II, had assumed leadership of the Orléanists after de Breteuil departed political life and under normal circumstances might easily have expected to lead a government as head of the largest party. He distrusted and disliked Boulanger but was painfully aware many of his own party deputies were followers of the 'brave general'. D'Haussonville's concerns were mirrored in the conservative republicans, many of whom were themselves conflicted on the monarchy, now that restoration seemed vaguely possible.

Boulanger himself was in no position to take up the post of prime minister as he was still in the Army. However he was in the position of kingmaker, perhaps literally. On 3 October 1893, less than a month after the election M. Piou, the Comte de Mun, Admiral Davout and the Comte d'Haussonville all met with General Boulanger at his home in Paris.

The royalist leaders knew that though the Orléanists now held the upper hand in the
Assemblée, the parliamentary majority of the Right depended on the votes of the Républicain modéré deputies, a collection of conservative republicans led by Alexandre Ribot and Jules Méline. Such men would not automatically agree to a restoration but Boulanger, with his immense influence across the political parties could perhaps persuade them to at least back a repeal of the Law of Exile with the intention of a plebiscite on the monarchy later (distasteful to many traditional royalists but something they believed could be won.) Boulanger agreed to back the repeal measure on the understanding he would become president after Japan was defeated and it was politic for him to return to civilian life.

Scarcely had the Assemblée reconvened when the North Germans invaded. With every party realising the seriousness of the invasion the repeal bill, at that point being pushed through against bitter resistance by republicans, was suspended for the duration of the war. A political truce saw the Comte d'Haussonville as prime minister, the Comte de Mun at the Interior and M. Méline at the Ministry of Finance while General Boulanger at War saw his authority grow still further; for most of 1895 he effectively ran France. Boulanger would prove the driving force behind both the Russian alliance and the French claiming the entire left bank of the Rhine.


President Audiffret-Pasquier and General Boulanger review the soldiers at Kreuznach, 2 February 1894.

The political truce was shattered by the unexpected death of Louis Philippe II. The exiled monarch had been ill for some time but French royalists were confidently expecting his rapid return on the defeat of the Germans. Suddenly the guiding light that had sustained loyal Orléanists for nineteen years was gone at just fifty six. His successor was the twenty five year old Duc d'Orléans (King Philippe VIII to his supporters.) The new monarch was tall and fair haired, a genial young man more athlete than scholar and almost entirely unknown in France. He had not set foot in his titular kingdom since he was six years old and according to inaccurate but widely believed rumor spoke French with a pronounced English accent.

The blow to French royalism cannot be overstated. Louis Philippe II might have been absent a great many years but everyone above a certain age could remember him. A great many politicians, including those who were not instinctively loyal to the idea of monarchy had some measure of affection for the distinguished gentleman destroyed by circumstances beyond his control. Personal loyalty to the king had caused much anguish among conservatives who had rallied to the republic in deference to the Pope. It was simply open to question whether that same affection existed for 'Philippe VII'.

Boulanger also had cause to be concerned. The personal prestige of the general stood higher than ever in late 1894 but his political influence had actually shrunk. Never a particularly popular man around the Cabinet table his near dictatorial control of the Ministry of War had turned allies into rivals and rivals into enemies. Preferring to keep his counsel with the general staff the great man had allowed the Boulangist organisation in the
Assemblée to become moribund. The simple truth was that the most popular man in France was not a very good politician. Certainly he could not hope to win election to the presidency in a largely hostile parliament, and even returning to the Assemblée as a civilian deputy would see him struggle to be heard.

The Treaty of Stade, signed on 9 December 1894 officially ended the war between France and her allies and North Germany and technically brought an end to the political truce endorsed by all thirteen months earlier. This should have meant debate on the Law of Exile should have resumed, but even the Orléanists were reluctant to immediately return to the fray and perhaps lose the vote on the ambivalence surrounding the Duc d'Orléans. As the year drew to a close the Government was gripped by indecisiveness and doubt. On 20 December the Comte d'Haussonville advised the president that fresh legislative elections should be held at once to prevent the Droite constitutionnel collapsing without the prospect of an alternate government in waiting.

Every party and bloc faced the elections of 1895 with something to lose and something to gain. The Orléanists hoped to win a mandate for 'Philippe VII'. The
Républicain modérés hoped to regain the mantle of the largest conservative faction. The liberal and socialist republicans vied with each other for voters grown war weary, suspicious of the Church and startled by the revival of royalism. General Boulanger, alarmed by his decline in parliament looked to his solace in personal popularity.


[1] Juan III is the historical Juan, Count of Montizón. With the Carlist victory in the Spanish Civil War he is in this timeline the reigning king of Spain rather than simply a pretender.

[2] It is difficult to map the politics of this France onto those of the real life Third Republic. For one thing this France is considerably more conservative - out of the past five elections (1877, 1880, 1884, 1889 and 1893) the conservative bloc has won three with the other two going to the liberals. The only period of power the socialists have enjoyed was the period between the revolution and the first republican elections (1875 to 1875.) Even beyond that though the royalists have done better than their historical counterparts which more or less declined remorselessly.

[3] A lot of French conservative politicians seemed to have expressed concern at workers rights during this period - the Comte de Mun's social Catholicism and Boulanger's rhetoric of defending the workers are both historic. All parties across the spectrum are also protectionists. While there are differences - the Orléanists and Républicain libérales are laissez faire while the Républicain modérés and Républicain démocratiques (socialists) are interventionists or state capitalists - at this point political dispute is more about what we might call identity politics as anything else.
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Firstly, thank you everyone for your kind regards. I had a great holiday in the Big Apple where among much else I saw Groundhog Day the musical - something I'll have to do again and again and again...

Ahem, by that I mean it is very good especially if you like the film as I do. :)


Or even Bismarck for that matter. I actually feel sorry for him, but realistically France would have annexed the left bank of the Rhine - the public would not have accepted anything less.

Jape: Yes, I am worried about that. I am trying to play relatively realistically and unfortunately some of those goals - grabbing Savoy and here Rhineland - seem to aid my greatest rival. That isn't actually intentional; I honestly expected Austria to implode long before now!

Well, the republic is perhaps less stable than you suggested, but otherwise yes very much. I should note I am not angling for a world war! Britain has enormous numbers of troops in Africa! :eek:

Mat Man:
Yes, that's a good way of putting it. My primary concern is that my natural ally against Austria, Italy, is too weak to act on her own and understandably embittered with France. I will be watching events in central Europe very closely!

stnylan: The thought of a British-Austrian-Japanese Entente against my Dual Alliance is a frightening one. Unfortunately it is quite plausible!

loup99: I was sort of hoping you'd feel sorry for poor Louis Philippe. :( Well, anyway I'd imagine the spectre of Napoleon hangs heavily on many foreign observers, especially with Boulanger around.

Shinkuro Yukinari: No Fascist party at time of writing (the Droite nationalistes are Reactionary.)

I know. :(

guillec87: Heh. Technically true.

Nikolai: I guess time will tell!

GoukaRyuu: Yes, the borders are a little gah, but they are impressive at least!

Director: I have to say I very much did not want this war. I was trying to isolate Austria, not surround her with weakened powers. Unfortunately it was forced upon me. At least as you point out my France is now far more resource rich than her historical counterpart.

Goldenbaum: Thank you very much, I hope you enjoy reading this! :)
Restore the Monarchy French People, though even an overwhelming majority elected would need a flipping console command due to Victoria II's clumsy system when it comes to restorations.
All in all sounds like France's internal politics remain curiously fraught and fragile given their dominance on the world stage. It is a most interesting comparison.
I'm not sure a restoration would last long as it is now, unfortunately. Seems like there is no clear, good candidate and no firm support to retain a new king in power.
well, I was hoping for some kind of restauration, be it a King or an Emperor, but it seems that won't happen this time....
Very interesting - all factions lack momentum and hang on the voice of the electorate. I hope the next update expands on the election - are the factions actively campaigning for the French people to definitively pick a side or is it more private concerns?

A rare critique - I'm a little confused by Boulanger's status in this update. He no doubt has great prestige due to the North German War and also few friends in Cabinet, but I can't really tell if his shine is wearing off or he is at the height of his popularity. Since your Republic is nowhere near as loathed as the real one at this point in time a coup as expected IOTL is unlikely, which makes me think he needs to resign his commission and form his own big tent party, combining vague monarchism with social reform - keeping it vague enough to entice the Left, royalists and "Social Catholic" Right.

Then again he was a natural ditherer so him fading away would hardly be surprising.

If he does botch it and 1895 doesn't provide a clear course of action though, I can see in this France another military man who is willing to go all the way simply stealing his clothes. Not nessecarily right away, France seems pretty comfortable if stagnant to keep up the malaise for a while (a crude comparison but dominant Britain fudged politically for over a generation post Gladstone and Disreali, debatebly all the way upto 1945) . Perhaps in the next century, perhaps influenced by the Integralists a grand homme might step forward...

EDIT: I'm loving your use of period cartoons by the way, really capture the flavour of the times.