Monday, January 7, 2013

The Second Napoleonic Wars: An Alternate History Scenario

I was checking on my alternate-history forum this morning and I found the following scenario:

Although I took a class on 19th Century Europe in college, I don't remember a whole lot about Napoleon III, the Austro-Sardinian War, etc. Given how I do remember a lot of discussion about Garibaldi and Italian unification, that is rather odd. Either way, late 19th Century Europe is generally not an area I'm interested in.

That being said, this is a very interesting scenario. The point of divergence from our history is that King Frederick William IV is not incapacitated by a heart attack in August of 1857. This leads to Czar Alexander II feeling more secure about his western border, which makes him more open to an alliance with Napoleon III against the Austrians in support of Napoleon's plans for Italy.

Right now, the Austrian Empire is foundering, with its armies even more devastated by this timeline's version of the Battle of Solferino, Emperor Franz Josef himself under siege in Italy, and Russian armies occupying Austrian Poland. Something very significant just happened, but I'm not going to reveal any big spoilers other than it's, in TVTropes terms, a Crowning Moment of Awesome for both Garibaldi and Franz Josef.

Faux historical documents from later in the timeline reference this period as "the second Napoleonic Wars" and timeline author (the user whose handle is yboxman) referenced how a general European war wasn't provoked by the four smaller wars of the late 19th Century even though it easily could have been, so the mayhem is just beginning. Furthermore, American Civil War hasn't happened yet, so we might see someone (President James Buchanan or his successor, who may not be Abraham Lincoln this time around) gambling on a short, victorious war to paper over sectional tensions and/or try to jump on Britain's back a second time and hope things go better than 1812 or the Union and the Confederacy ending up on opposite sides of the European conflict and making this a world war.

No comments:

Post a Comment